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Raiders training camp: Intense backup running back battle

Jalen Richard could be in trouble

Seattle Seahawks v Las Vegas Raiders
Trey Ragas scores
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It hasn’t been an ideal training camp for veteran Las Vegas Raiders reserve running back Jalen Richard.

First, Richard complained about the NFL’s stance on unvaccinated players on a Twitter account that no longer exists. Then, the sixth-year veteran went on the NFL”s COVID-19 list, Now, he is in the middle of rehabbing a foot injury that reportedly could keep him out another week or so.

Saturday night, the hits kept coming for Richard when fellow Raiders’ backups Trey Ragas and B.J. Emmons both performed well in Las Vegas’ 20-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks at Allegiant Stadium.

Richard may be behind when he returns and could find himself on the bubble of making the 53-man roster when the initial roster is set in 15 days.

Indianapolis Colts v Las Vegas Raiders
Jalen Richard
Photo by Chris Unger/Getty Images

Richard, who made the Raiders’ roster in 2016 as an undrafted rookie, has been an asset to the team. However, he has seen his involvement in Jon Gruden’s offense decrease in the past couple of seasons. Richard had just 22 carries and 19 receptions in 2020. In 2019, he had a total of 75 touches. In 2018, Richard had 68 catches and was a big part of the offense.

So, it wouldn’t be a shock if we see a change at the back end of the backfield behind starter Josh Jacobs and key reserve Kenyan Drake. They will probably keep two other tailbacks.

Seattle Seahawks v Las Vegas Raiders
B.J. Emmons
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

If Ragas and Emmons perform the way they did against Seattle in the final two preseason games against the Los Angeles Rams and the San Francisco 49ers, they could both make it the 53-man roster. Bo Scarbrough, who was signed earlier this month, may lose out in a numbers game.

UPDATE: Scarbrough was cut Monday afternoon.

Ragas, who the Raiders have long been high on, had 62 yards on 13 carries and scored on fourth and one in the first quarter. Emmons had 45 yards on nine carries and he had a two-yard touchdown. Emmons, an undrafted free agent who the Raiders recently signed after he was cut by Seattle, also had a 22-yard run.

So, Richard needs to get healthy quickly to stay in the mix in the roster race.