warcrimes Aug 21st, 2019 62 Never
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- DeAndré Washington is a must-start in all preseason fantasy leagues this year. But the Raiders’ fourth-year running back wants to show he is more than that.
- Washington has run for 41 yards and a touchdown and caught three passes for 56 yards in three quarters of action this preseason, and he will keep pounding the rock and his point on Thursday night against the Packers in Winnipeg.
- “We have four No. 1 guys,” Washington said on Sunday. “I think we’re loaded. From top to bottom, we have some guys that can go. We have one of the best running back rooms in the league.”
- Washington came into camp No. 4, behind rookie Josh Jacobs, Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. But he is doing his best to not only make the team again but shuffle up that order.
- “Yeah, we’re seeing the same things you guys are seeing,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “We think he looks quicker and faster and stronger. So, we’ve been happy with how he’s developed so far.
- “We kind of feel like all four of them can be dual-threat type running backs.”
- After running for 467 yards (on 5.4 yards a carry) his rookie season, Washington only has a combined 268 yards on the ground the last two seasons. (He did catch 34 passes for 197 yards in 2017.)
- There is a good reason he is running the ball better now than he was last season.
- “The biggest thing is I am back healthy, man,” Washington said. “That makes a big difference. I was battling the knee all season. I had the surgery in the preseason last year and it was a lingering thing.”
- He is back to 100 percent after having a chance to rest it this offseason.
- “And then I was able to strengthen some of the muscles around the knee too,” he said. “I feel good now. I feel really good. And I know what to expect, this being my second year in the system. I feel like I am two steps ahead of the game now. I know what (Derek Carr) is thinking. I know what (Jon) Gruden is thinking.”
- Gruden has strongly hinted that Jacobs could be a three-down back, which would severely limit the number of touches available for Washington. But Gruden said Saturday that he hasn’t decided when he will put the bell-cow collar around Jacobs’ neck.
- “We’re not sure what we’re going to do yet, really, with turning the whole enchilada over to him or not,” Gruden said. “We feel like Richard is very special to us. DeAndré Washington is healthy. He’s had a great camp.
- “In the past, we’ve used two halfbacks at a time. We’ve had three running backs in a game together. The question is how many fullbacks, how many halfbacks, how many backs will we keep. That’ll be a challenge for us.”
- Extra points
- • Not only will starters likely not play Thursday, but some may not even make the trip to Winnipeg. Gruden wouldn’t come out and say that, probably because the Raiders don’t want the promoter who gave them a lot of money to jump off a bridge.
- “We’re still looking at our list of injuries and our rotations and finalizing who’s going and who’s not going,” Gruden said on Tuesday. “I don’t have any final answer right now.”
- But this will not be a typical third preseason game, where starters play up to a half as a final dress rehearsal for the regular season. Apparently, there are also some concerns about the surface at Investors Group Field.
- • Rookie safety Johnathan Abram has been playing with a cast on his right hand due to what Gruden called an “irritated wrist.”
- “We’ve had a physical training camp and hopefully some of these guys are able to make the trip,” Gruden said.
- • Many of the players, including receiver Tyrell Williams, have come down with a bug this past week.
- • Receiver J.J. Nelson is still dealing with an ankle sprain.
- “Yup, he’s got a slight ankle,” Gruden said. “Don’t think it’s serious, but don’t know that he’ll play. It’s just hard to give you any real, concrete information because we do have a slew of players that are lingering after the three weeks of training camp.”
- • There is a battle for the swing tackle spot.
- “David Sharpe has had a good camp,” Gruden said. “I think Brandon Parker has done an excellent job. He struggled a little bit one series against the Rams, but he played very well against Arizona playing both positions. He and David are both flipping sides which is good for them.”
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