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Raiders free agency 2022: Josh McDaniels happy to get familiar faces in backfield

Las Vegas head coach discusses adding Brandon Bolden and Jakob Johnson to offense

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - New England Patriots v Buffalo Bills
Brandon Bolden
Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images

Predictably, new Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels has brought in several players whom he and many members of his staff have had familiarity with.

One position where McDaniels went back to his roots was at running back when he signed both reserve running back Brandon Bolden and fullback Jakob Johnson. Both Bolden and Johnson played for McDaniels with the New England Patriots where, of course, McDaniels was the offensive coordinator.

“Look, the opportunities that we had to add a few players that you have some familiarity with, that never hurts,” McDaniels said this week at the NFL owner’s meetings. “The coaching staff is another big thing, when you have the opportunity to do that. When I went to Denver, I really didn’t have an opportunity to bring people that had worked with me before. I had only been in the league for eight years, so I didn’t have as much experience and as many connections as I do at this point.

“It’s a blessing that we have an opportunity to work together, some of us that have had those relationships. You just hit the ground running a little quicker when you have the opportunity to do that, and those guys have done a great job. I’m really pleased with our staff, the way they’re working, their mindset, their attitude, their work ethic has been tremendous so far this Spring. I give them a lot of credit for the time they’re spending at the facility. It’s tireless. Most of our families aren’t out there yet. We go from the end of one season and it’s work all day and all night now. Really enjoy being around this group of guys.”

McDaniels also said it was important to bolster the backfield because of injuries, as you need depth. So it was important to add there, all the while reuniting with players who he knows well.

“That’s a position that’s hard to stay healthy, it just is,” McDaniels said. “They touch the ball more than everybody but the quarterback, and they get hit more than anybody. We have a couple guys that are rehabbing now and so to have depth in that room is important because if you don’t have quality depth in the running back room today in the NFL, a lot of times you’re going to run into some issues and some injuries you know, and then you get caught in trying to make a quick transaction during the middle of the season. So, we’ve always tried to have as much depth in that room as we can. I think it’s a position that it’s really critical to have good players, but it’s also really good to have good depth that you can plug in there and they can serve a lot of roles.”