Oakland Raiders Head Coach, Jack Del Rio, gave Raider Nation a taste of what’s to come this season with newly acquired running back Marshawn Lynch. In a short Tweet containing a soundless clip of Raider OTAs, Del Rio let the world know that Beast Mode is back.
— Jack Del Rio (@coachdelrio) June 6, 2017
Lynch, an Oakland native, is a proven back with a skill-set unlike anything this generation of the Raider faithful has ever seen.
The decision to sign the 31-year-old running back comes with its share of opinions from both fans and critics alike. On one side of the argument is a group that feels Latavius Murray should have been paid to remain in the Bay Area; and that Lynch is nothing more than a peace offering to a city that is losing its team for the second time in just over three decades.
The other half of the debate wants to see the Raiders make a run deep into the playoffs with the help of an improved defense and a dynamic and violent running game.
Why Him, Why Now?
As with all aging runners in the NFL, the subject of health and longevity is always a concern. Can a running back with a career’s worth of contact still be effective? Can he still perform at a level that makes him worth the money being paid?
In Lynch’s case, the answer to both of these questions is yes. Not because he is still the wrecking ball of years past and his mere presence keeps opposing defensive coordinators up at night. But because he is being paid very little, and an 80% Lynch is still better for this team than a 100% Latavius Murray.
In 2014, Lynch’s last full season, he ran the ball 280 times for 1306 yards and 13 TD’s. Not bad for a running back at the top of his game, but that was two seasons ago.
Latavius Murray, whose career is young and looks to be on the upswing, has never come close to numbers like this. 2015 was Murray’s best season statistically, running the ball 266 times for 1,066 yards, and 6 TD’s. Not bad, but nothing like Lynch.
2016 wasn’t a bad season for Murray either, but 195 Attempts for 788 yards and 12 TD’s is evidence of what the Raiders plan to do with their offense; utilize Derek Carr and the passing game, and pound the ball in close. It’s a formula that took the Raiders from a 7-9 football team in 2015 to a 12-4 Super Bowl contender in 2016, and it’s a system tailor made for a runner like Lynch.
Jack Del Rio, new offensive coordinator Todd Downing, and the entire Raider Nation are excited to see what Marshawn Lynch has in store, and if history has proven anything, “Beast Mode” will not disappoint.