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Raiders coaches rave Michael Dyer is "intense" in meetings, has "juice" on the field

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Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Leading the Raiders in rushing over the first two preseason games is undrafted rookie running back, Michael Dyer. He has 56 yards on 17 carries and is making a serious case to be on the final regular season roster.

Following last week's game against the Vikings in which Dyer had 12 carries for 45 yards, Jack Del Rio came away impressed, as he has much of training camp.

"Michael did what he has been doing," said Del Rio. "He runs hard and is very determined. He has a little juice to him. He is showing up, making people miss and accelerating through some tackles and doing a pretty good job. He has come an awful long way from when he first came in here in the spring as a late addition. We'll see. We'll just keep working."

While Dyer may be averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, and one more yard than starter Latavius Murray on 10 carries (5.8 ypc), Murray isn't Dyer's competition.

Murray's job is secure. He had the starting job sewn up weeks ago. And Roy Helu Jr still looks to be in line for the number two spot and receiver out of the backfield. Dyer is competing for a roster spot and playing time behind them. And thus far he is making a strong case for himself.

What Dyer does on the field starts off the field. That's where Raiders' offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has come away the most impressed.

"You should see him in the meeting room," Musgrave said of Dyer. "He's very intense, into it, good energy, just a joy to be around. He's had a good camp. He's a young player, so he's going to make a lot of mistakes. He's got a lot of room to improve, but he has the right approach."

Dyer's fighting for a roster spot and his primary competition is Trent Richardson and Taiwan Jones.

Dyer made a strong impression early in camp while Richardson was missing with the pneumonia. And since his return, Richardson has not shown up well, including averaging just 1.0 yard per carry on five carries last week against the Vikings.

As for Jones, the Raiders have plans to use him in a myriad of different ways. He moved back to running back this season, which is where he began his NFL career before switching to cornerback two seasons ago. But where he has excelled in the past is as a gunner on special teams. He can also return kicks. With his tremendous speed, he is a nice weapon to have in the team's back pocket on offense as well. As Musgrave says it; "We're going to find a role for people like that."

With Jones contributing all over the place, it allows the Raiders to keep four running backs should they choose to do so. As of now, Dyer looks to have the inside track on one of those roster spots.