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Raiders training camp: Running back battle is wide open

With Josh Jacobs, competition is fierce

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
Sincere McCormick
Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images

As the second of three preseason games approach for the Las Vegas Raiders, one of the positions that appears unsettled is at running back.

The Raiders, who play at the Los Angeles Rams on Saturday (6p.m. PT kickoff), will likely keep five or six running backs (including fullback Jakob Johnson). With the initial 53-man roster needing to be set by August 29, the Raiders still have some sorting out to do.

And they’ve been adding to the position during camp as they have signed former Kansas City Chiefs veterans Damien Williams and Darwin Thompson in the past week. Of course, the Raiders are working through training camp and the preseason without star tailback Josh Jacobs. He is staying away in a contract dispute, but there have been reports that suggest he will return for the Week 1 game at the Denver Broncos on September 10.

In the first preseason game, second-year player Zamir White (who has been the starter with Jacobs gone) had 43 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown in the 34-7 Raiders’ win. Sincere McCormick had 27 yards on nine carries with a touchdown. Veteran Ameer Abdullah had 22 yards on five totes, while Williams has 15 yards on four carries just two days after signing with the team.

The Raiders will need to see who produces in the final preseason games before making their final roster decision. It won’t be easy, though.

Assuming, the Raiders keep six running backs (and that may not be easy with a crowded wide receiver room that also may require keeping six players at the position), three spots are locked up with Jacobs (assuming he returns), White and Johnson having secured roles.

That leaves Abdullah, McCormick, veteran Brandon Bolden, second-year player Brittain Brown, Williams and Thompson fighting for three spots.

The coaching staff loves the veterans, Abdullah and Bolden. So, they and Brown (who has been dealing with injuries in training camp) are likely the favorites with McCormick, Williams and Thompson needing to make big impressions in the next two games.

So, with time ticking, the battle at running back is of big importance in Las Vegas.