It seems like we've been having this conversation for a while. First it was Latavius Murray mysteriously not getting any carries despite an otherwise putrid Raiders running attack, then it was him bursting onto the scene three weeks ago with 37 yards on his first two carries, then it was a record day with 112 yards and 2 touchdowns on four carries which ended with a concussion.
Prior to that game, Tony Sparano had said Murray earned more carries. Even so, it was still Darren McFadden given the start versus the Chiefs on Thursday night. Had he not gotten his concussion, he very well may have been finally given the nod as the starter last week against the Rams. But since he missed that game, his opportunity will come against the 49ers this week.
"I think we're all excited to see him now that he's healthy again," said offensive coordinator Greg Olson. "Give him an opportunity to carry to football this week. There's some anticipation and there's some excitement this week seeing him out on the practice field and we're excited to see him play."
Sparano said on Wednesday that he was "curious" to see just what Murray could do. Though Murray has run for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns in his last 8 carries, it's still just 8 carries.
On Thursday Sparano wouldn't commit to whether Murray would start or even how much of a workload he would have.
"[It's a] feel, flow situation, see how the ball game's going," said Sparano of how much Murray will play. ,"but I have a pretty good idea in my head of what I want the rotation to be before Sunday."
"I can't tell you about the number of carries. It just depends about how the game is going, but when I say rotation, I'm talking about who I see in when and if the carries come, they come."
The question prior to Murray's presence in the run game was why he had gotten just six carries the entire season before this. Sparano said it had to do with the fact that Murray was out his entire rookie season with injury and he had yet to see him progress to the level where he was comfortable putting him in the game as running back.
Greg Olson expanded upon that.
"He was really out for an entire season last year, so we never really got a chance [to evaluate him]." Said Olson. "When we did see him when he came here as a rookie, he kinda walked like he had bunions or there was something wrong with his feet when he came in and he finally explained ‘coach, there's something wrong with my feet. I don't run like that.' Then we had a chance to see him in that Seattle preseason game really was the first time he jumped out. And we had a chance to see him in some of the scrimmages when we worked out in Dallas and said this guy may have something here. So, we're excited to see him but he's still a young player. There's have been some mistakes but it's not something that we would fear putting him in because of that."
Olson's statement fills in a blank as to what was wrong with Murray last year. He went out with his injury in preseason and yet the day after the final game of the season, I noted he came into the locker room in a walking boot. Him needing to have work done on his feet - whether it be bunions or otherwise - would explain the prolonged foot injury.
We can talk about Olson saying the coaching staff noticed something special about Murray in the preseason and yet still didn't play him until week 11, but that fact has been much discussed already. He is ready to go now and the team is hoping to see him have a repeat performance this week and revive the Raiders otherwise non-existent running game.