The Las Vegas Raiders are going to have a difficult decision to make at running back when the make their final cut-downs to the 53-man roster on Aug. 30.
They will likely keep four or five tailbacks (plus fullback Jakob Johnson). Early in free agency they signed Ameer Abdullah and Brandon Bolden (who came from New England with the new Raiders’ brass), but then they drafted Zamir White and Brittain Brown to go along with holdovers Josh Jacobs and Kenyan Drake. They also have Austin Walter in camp.
The competition should be fierce for the rest of training camp and in the final three preseason games. Abdullah had a nice start to the preseason as he ran well and scored a touchdown against Jacksonville on Thursday night.
When he signed with the Raiders, Abdullah (an eighth-year veteran who had a combined 51 carries with Minnesota and Carolina last season), knew the competition would be fierce and now that camp is in full bloom, he is relishing the competition.
“Guys are pros. I kind of expect that for guys to go home, study, come back and apply the meeting rooms to the field,” Abdullah said. “I think that’s just the expectation out here ... I think we have guys that can do a multitude of things, like you said. Right now, it’s about just meshing well together, bringing our best effort for whatever they ask us to do. I think guys are answering the call right now.”
Abdullah’s best chance to make the roster may be his ability to be a factor on third down and in the passing game. He had 38 catches for 289 yards last season. That was a big reason why the Raiders signed him.
Abdullah’s plan is just to keep working in training camp as he gives it his best effort in the next three weeks.
“You just take it one day at a time. That’s what my father has always told me,” Abdullah said. “You can’t live too much in the future, that breeds anxiety. You can’t live too much in the past, that breeds depression. Just staying present. Keeping everything that’s right in front of you, which is what you can control ... Wherever they need me. I’ve kind of made myself a Swiss army knife throughout my career, whether that’s playing first down back, third down back or a special teams guy.
“For me right now, I just enjoy playing the game wherever that may be. I think that’s why I fit in with this team. I think that’s why I get along with a lot of guys because we got a lot of guys who are just willing to go out there and play ball, and that’s what it’s about.”