Raiders in Review: Jalen Richard

Las Vegas Raiders running back Jalen Richard isn’t going anywhere in 2020 but before we talk about this upcoming season, let’s take a look back at 2019.

Richard will not be hitting free agency in 2020 after the team locked him up for the next two years. The all-world running back will bring versatility and experience to the Raiders in their inaugural season in Vegas.

As far as 2019 is concerned, it was somewhat of a “down” year statistically speaking. It should be noted though, Richard is yet to miss a match for the Raiders and has played in all 64 games in his career. Let’s take a closer look.

Richard by the numbers

Richard’s drop in numbers could have different causes. Head coach Jon Gruden’s offense greatly benefited from rookie Josh Jacobs and therefore, the veteran’s total touches went down. Fellow Raiders running back DeAndre Washington had a quality season as well. Richard’s total rushing attempts decreased and ended up with 39, which was down from 55 the year before while Washington had 108 attempts. A lack of use directly led to diminishing numbers as Richard finished the year with 145 rushing yards and zero touchdowns.

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The passing game also saw a shift in Richard’s usage in 2019. Quarterback Derek Carr targeted Richard 81 times in 2018, but only saw the ball go his way only 43 times last season. That’s almost a loss of half the total targets in Richard’s receiving game. In spite of that, Richard showed he hasn’t lost a step in the receiving game as his yards per reception was 9.0, on par with his previous seasons. The decline in these numbers naturally led to a lower impact. By year’s end, he only had 323 receiving yards and zero touchdowns off of 36 receptions.

Individual Highlights

Richard never really got going as you can see in his individual performances throughout 2019. Look at his game versus the Detroit Lions in Week 9 for an example of his spotty use. There, he had his best receiving game with three receptions and 56 receiving yards. Regrettably, he had a mere two rushing attempts in the same match.

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Against the Titans in Week 17, he saw his highest rushing attempts, seven, go for only 28 yards. His total rushing yards per attempt for 2019 also saw a steep decline as he went from 4.7 in 2018 to 3.7, which is a far cry from his 5.9 during his rookie year in 2016.

Outlook

Even with all the receding stats, the Raiders still believe Richard brings something to the table or they wouldn’t have brought him back. Don’t forget the impact Richard has on special teams as well. In his career, he has 34 kickoff returns for 680 yards and 68 punt returns for 485 yards. Pro Football Focus gave him a 66.0 total rating for 2019, and considering his familiarity with this offense, it was a smart move to re-sign him.

He’s a crafty veteran that still has his speed and barring any major injury, it’s more probable than not he’ll find his mojo in Vegas again. You can bet on it.

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Ramble On, Raider Nation!

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