The running game has been a bright spot for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020. As for Jalen Richard, he’s thriving in his current role within the running back depth chart.
Jalen Richard has been an important part of the Raiders offense
While Devontae Booker is older in years, Richard is the elder statesmen of the Raiders running backs room. Since joining the team in 2016, he has played a vital role for the Silver and Black. Richard has contributed to the running game as a dependable backup, returned punts and kickoffs, and been a target out of the backfield. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has gone to Richard quite often and since Jon Gruden’s return, he’s been targeted 137 times.
While Richard’s carries and targets are low at the moment, the team will rely on him as the season progresses. This is especially true if the team wants to monitor Josh Jacobs’ workload. Even more intriguing is the possibility, though unlikely, of Le’Veon Bell joining Las Vegas. Talk about a monstrous backfield.
Devontae Booker running well behind Josh Jacobs. Jalen Richard’s got some juice. …
Jets release Le’Veon Bell … pic.twitter.com/UjWa3ULqYK
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) October 14, 2020
Richard Will Be Key Even Without Bell
If the Raiders roll with Jacobs, Booker, and Richard, that backfield should be just fine all things considered. Richard’s familiarity with the offense and Carr is important for the team. Take his reliability out of the backfield, for example, Pro Football Focus has Richard targeted 12 times with ten receptions.
Five games into the season Richard only has one drop, and he has only had six drops since 2018. The emergence of Jacobs as a receiving threat this season has resulted in Richard not getting as many looks. While that’s good, Richard has shown if needed, he too can be relied upon, since 2018, he has converted 39 first downs.
As recently as Sunday’s game against the Chiefs, we witnessed how important Richard still is. Against the Kansas City defense, Richard came down with four receptions as the Raiders offense continues to spread out and become a well-oiled machine. ’30’ will be a player we will have to keep an eye on as the team comes off their most significant victory in a long time.
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*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images