One of the most intriguing players on the Oakland Raiders roster is running back Latavius Murray. The 2013 sixth-round pick lost his entire rookie season to an ankle injury that landed him on injured reserve. For the upcoming season, Murray is expected to be back healthy and a bigger part of the Raiders running back position competition.
Murray missed some OTA practices because of an ankle/foot injury already in 2014, but it is expected to be minor. He was able to play in the Raiders and San Francisco 49ers charity basketball game Friday night so he will be back on the field for the Raiders third OTA session next week.
“He tweaked his ankle or his foot the other day in practice,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said of Murray. “Again, it’s kind of a day-by-day thing. Hopefully we’ll have him back out here sooner rather than later.”
The good news is Murray will be returning to action because the second year back could become part of the Raiders running back stable this year. Murray has a nice combination of size, speed, and power. He was able to display some of those attributes last offseason and training camp. The injury put a halt to that development so it is paramount that he get healthy and start that learning process again.
At 6-3, 230 pounds, Murray is unlike any other running back the Raiders have on the roster. Oakland has Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew battling for the starting role, but carries will be shared. With a healthy and solid training camp and preseason, Murray can put himself in the mix to earn some carries.
The only live action Murray saw in 2013 was the first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys. He rushed eight times for 29 yards. With the injury history of McFadden, Murray has a real shot to see playing time. His development will be crucial to the backfield depth. The Raiders have no illusions that they want to be a running offense. Last season, they were 12th in the NFL in rushing yards per game. This year, the team has a better offensive line and the addition of Jones-Drew and a what should be a healthy Murray to achieve even greater success.
“I do know throughout the course of a 16-game season, you’re going to need everybody,” Allen said of the running backs. “I think it’s great when you have multiple players that you feel confident that they can come in and do the job. We’ll let the competition dictate who plays and how much they play. It’s a good feeling to know that you’ve got some qualified people in the running back room that can carry the loads for you.”
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