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Raiders got just what they hoped from their speedy rookie scat backs

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Jack Del Rio used last night’s preseason game to see what he has in his two mighty mouse rookies.

Most of the first teamers saw the bulk of the snaps in the game Saturday night. Latavius Murray was not among them. He saw a total of two carries in the game because Jack Del Rio decided this week he wanted to see what his two speedy rookie scat backs could do behind the first team offensive line.

As a result, fifth rounder DeAndre Washington carried 8 times for 55 yards (6.9 yards per carry) and undrafted Jalen Richard carried 7 times for 35 yards (5.0 ypc). Those 15 carries were more than the rest of the running backs combined (11).

Del Rio was pleased with the result.

“I thought they both ran hard, ran with vision,” Del Rio said of the duo. “They make people miss, so I was really pleased with both of them really. They were pretty good in the return game as well.”

Even before the two of them got things going in the run game, Richard got things going on special teams. He was the first Raiders player to touch the ball, returning the kickoff 38 yards to start the Raiders first drive on the 42-yard-line. It was a great start of the day.

“Yeah, I was envisioning that the whole day, man,” Richard said of his big return. “I wish I could’ve took it to the house, but that definitely got my confidence up for the rest of the game. To start a game like that, a kick return, it felt real good.”

From there, Washington got this going on offense; finishing off the first drive with a 5-yard screen catch followed by a 6-yard touchdown catch on a tight slant.

The next series, Richard entered at running back, getting time with the first team just as Del Rio said he would. He carried the ball for two yards on first down. Not quite the big plays that Washington had to begin the game, but there would be more to come.

Richard had the first carry on the next drive too, picking up the first down on second and one with a 2-yard run. From there Washington took over again, with a big 31-yard run behind a big block by left guard Kelechi Osemele. It was Washington’s longest run of the preseason after having worked mostly behind the second team Oline prior to this.

“That was a great block to give Dre an alley to go,” Derek Carr said of the run play. “Usually when I hand the ball off to Tay [Latavius Murray], I’ll do my boot and let him take care of the rest, but with those young guys, I hand it off and turn around and try to watch. I’ll probably get knocked on that when they grade the film, but to be able to see him hit that hole, there was no hesitation. He just hit it. That shows he’s trusting what coach Bernie is telling him. And he’s trusting in that and he’s just hitting and he’s just playing. To see that in two young running backs that haven’t played defenses that fast, they haven’t seen physicality like that, for them to just get the ball and just go, that’s a great sign.”

Five of Richard’s seven carries came with the first team, running for a total of 20 yards. Later he added a 13-yard run. It was his much anticipated debut for the team after running well in training camp.

“I feel like there was a really good rhythm for both of us,” Richard said of he and Washington. “The O-line was a focal point going into this game. . . We really wanted to run the ball. With that, we did well today. Me and DeAndre and whatever other backs were out there, we saw it and we did it.”

Latavius Murray is still the starter until further notice according to Del Rio. The performance of these two allows Jack Del Rio a box to check off – complementary back.

“Going into the offseason we were hoping we could develop a running back that could be a really good backup for us and it looks like we’ve really got a shot to have one of those guys help us, potentially both, we’ll see.”