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What they got wrong about the Raiders

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New York Jets v Oakland Raiders Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Most predictions I saw about the Raiders this season were positive. There were high expectations in the 2016 offseason and the Raiders lived up to the hype, so most expected that to continue. However, there was one big question out there — would Marshawn Lynch return to form?

Some reserved judgment on that and some expected him to be all he ever was at age 31. Then there were those who were convinced he was washed up. Or rather they had convinced themselves of that. Namely the Raiders rivals.

The folks over at Arrowhead Pride were skeptical, which is understandable. The folks at Bolts From the Blue ranked him as the worst running back in the division. Even in a division that isn’t especially strong at the position.

But no one doubled down on Marshawn Lynch being trash quite like Mile High Report. Their opinion on the Raiders adding Lynch is downright comical. They literally begged the Raiders to get Lynch.

“I hope they sign [Marshawn Lynch]. Lynch was not very good in his final season, averaging a full yard per carry less than the previous season at just 3.8 yards per carry. He is now heading to 31 years old and most of us are well aware of the age wall running backs experience.”

What writer Tim Lynch neglects to mention is that in Marshawn’s final season he was playing through injury, eventually shutting it down after seven games. Or that his final full season he ran for 1306 yards and 13 touchdowns averaging 4.7 yards per carry. Or that he was behind one of the worst offensive lines in football, forcing him to average two yards per carry AFTER contact.

Yes, we all know the proverbial wall running backs hit. That wall is said to occur at or just after age 30. But Lynch was 29 in his final season. That age 30 wall is based more on wear and tear than age specifically and Marshawn has gone nearly two years without any wear and tear.

But, hey, if that’s your general opinion on older running backs, fine. So, what do you expect happened when the Broncos signed Jamaal Charles? You guessed it, they were all about it, going as far as to say the addition of Charles alongside CJ Anderson will give the Broncos the best duo in the NFL. To his credit, the Broncos do currently have the NFL’s top rushing attack (318 yards), but most of that has been CJ Anderson (199 yards).

Not only is Charles 30 years of age, but he’ll turn 31 before season’s end. Even still, Charles’ issue hasn’t been talent, it’s been injuries. He has played a total of 8 games the past two seasons. He also averaged 3.3 yards per carry in his last season with the Chiefs, but you won’t hear anyone over there mention that.

Not that they should, because I wouldn’t either. One partial, injury shortened season is not how you go about judging the talent of a player.

Thus far, Charles has run well for the Broncos (19 carries for 86 yards, 4.5 yards per carry). And Marshawn has run well for the Raiders (30 carries for 121 yards and a touchdown with 4.0 yards per carry).

Marshawn is the workhorse back in Oakland. He runs between the tackles and is used in short yardage situations, perhaps more than the Raiders would like with Jamize Olawale missing the first two games.

Beast Mode routinely breaks what look to be sure tackles to pick up positive yards and extra yards. Or he simply runs through those tackles, as he did when he mowed down 305-pound Pro Bowler Jurrell Casey.

There isn’t a person who has watched him run this year who would say he is not the back he once was. It’s a long season, but the opinion Marshawn is not a valuable addition to this Raiders team is already looking debunked. Just ask the head coach of the Raiders next opponent who said Marshawn is “fun and terrifying to watch.”