We kept hearing this season about how much the Raiders coaching staff liked Latavius Murray. The talk, along with how he looked in limited snaps in preseason, made the possibilities of the kind of young back the Raiders have in him intriguing. But since the season has started, the little we saw of him has turned to nothing at all.
The 2013 sixth round pick was out with injury his entire rookie campaign so fans were eager to see what he could do. They got a taste in the preseason. He carried the ball in each of the team's four preseason games for a total of 23 carries for 94 yards (4.0 yards per carry).
Once the regular season hit, Murray first saw the field as a kick returner. It was not where he was expected to make his mark, considering he had never been a return man in his career, but any way to see the field is a good thing, right? He returned three kicks in the opener for 67 yards (22.33 average).
In week two he returned four kicks and with Maurice Jones-Drew injured he even got a carry on offense. His one carry went for six yards. Not bad.
Jones-Drew was still out in week three so Murray's carries jumped to three. Though he could gain just one total yard (.33 yards per carry).
With MJD back in the lineup in week 5, Murray was relegated to just kick return duties and with the Raiders scoring four touchdowns, he saw five returns for 112 yards (22.4 yards per return). Still not great but not terrible either.
That was the last time Murray touched the ball.
Since then, T.J. Carrie has taken over kick return duties along with his usual punt return duties. Maurice Jones-Drew gets all the extra carries that trickle down from those Darren McFadden doesn't get.
All this would make sense if the Raiders rushing attack was even passable. But it's not. It has been the worst in all of football. Darren McFadden has just 338 yards in seven games averaging 4.0 yards per carry while Maurice Jones-Drew has just 56 total yards while averaging a paltry 2.3 yards per carry.
In short yardage, the Raiders usually opt for Jamize Olawale or Darren McFadden and the results have not been positive. Against the Browns they gave Olawale the ball on third and one and he was stuffed for no gain to force a punt. Against Miami in week four they gave it to Olawale on third and one and he was stuffed for no gain to force a punt. Those were his only two carries of the season.
Still the 6-3, 225-pound Murray stands on the sideline and watches.
Two weeks ago against the Cardinals, the Raiders had first and goal and it took Darren McFadden three carries to go three yards. Not exactly a goal line back extraordinaire.
Even still, no Murray.
The one place you'll see him is on kick coverage and blocking on returns. He hasn't touched the ball on offense or special teams the past three weeks.
None of this is to suggest Murray is some kind of savior for the struggling Raiders. But at 0-7 with the worst rushing attack in football, trying something - anything - is certainly worth a shot. If the Raiders are saving him for a rainy day, staring at the likelihood of being winless at the midway point of the season could be a good time.