Gruden: Do We Have a Fullback?
The answer is a resounding yes. And the man’s name is Jamize Olawale. Die-hard fans know him well. In turn, Raider Nation has been clamoring for his return to the Raiders offense throughout the 2017 season.
The speedy fullback experienced a breakout year under Bill Musgrave’s offense in 2016. Subsequently, he would take a backseat in 2017 under new offensive coordinator Todd Downing.
Todd Downing allowed Jamize Olawale to take the second-least snaps of all Fullbacks in the league in 2017. pic.twitter.com/7raIZij30w
— Maliik (@Obee1ne) January 12, 2018
Can Gruden be the man who turns #49’s career around? Does Jon even know who “Maze” is?
Gruden: Do we have a fullback?
“Wale” experienced success under the Musgrave system to the tune of 227 yards receiving on 14 targets (12 receptions). Compare that to the 33 yards on seven targets (six receptions) he garnered in the Downing era.
— Nick Hjeltness (@NickHjeltness) October 30, 2016
Enter Jon Gruden
Jon has always had an affinity to hard-nosed fullbacks who can lead block and tote the rock as well. While the FB position has become an endangered species in the NFL, Jon values players with diverse skill sets and Jamize definitely fits the bill.
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Fullbacks Jon Ritchie and Zack Crockett filled multiple roles during Gruden’s first stint as the head coach of the Raiders. Zack primarily served as a red zone missile (17 touchdowns) and Ritchie was a receiving threat (960 receiving yards) during the Gruden regime. Furthermore, both took on lead blocker roles throughout their careers to boot.
Get You a Man Who Can do Both
Though Oakland is limited to one fullback, Olawale has proven that he has the dynamic ability Gruden seeks from his position. In addition to his aforementioned receiving yards, Jamize ran for 110 yards on limited carries (24) in 2015.
But can he block though? Yes:
Jamize Olawale v Avery Williamson pic.twitter.com/EASSyi3mSo
— Safe Gipsy (@GipsySafety) September 26, 2016
— Millicent A. Olawale (@MAOlawale16) December 13, 2017
But can he run though? Yes:
— Millicent A. Olawale (@MAOlawale16) December 12, 2017
All Hands On Deck
A rising tide raises all boats (including pirate ships). Therefore the swell of confidence and intelligence ushered in with Gruden’s return should yield positive results for all involved. Jon’s offensive scheme typically involved a bewildering mix of plays attacking all levels of the opposing defense. With a bevy of weapons at his disposal, there is no reason for Olawale to remain silent in 2018.
The only question that remains for the veritable Swiss army knife is will he remain with the team in 2018? As a Bay Area native, one would think that Jamize wants nothing more than to remain in Silver and Black. In turn, the onus is on the front office as to whether or not #49 remains on the roster.
According to Overthecap.com, Oakland can save $1.6 mil. against the cap with less than $200k in dead money. Although his cap savings isn’t an enormous amount of cash, there is a slim chance #49 ends up a cap penalty. Oakland will be looking to extend Mack in 2018. Moreover, Jon loves his veteran free agents.
Let’s just hope Gruden finds Olawale first. Yes, Jon, we have a Fullback.
Written by: Kenny Stapler