The Raiders may view both Washington and Jalen Richard as complementary backs in need of being paired with a power runner, The San Jose Mercury News reports. With Latavius Murray officially out of the picture, Washington and Richard -- both rookies last season -- are left atop the Oakland depth chart in some order. While both players easily topped five yards per carry last season, they struggled when an injury to Murray forced them into larger roles. Luckily for the Raiders, there are still some interesting power backs available in free agency, not to mention the upcoming draft. If the team surprisingly decides not to make any notable additions, Washington and Richard likely would battle for the starting job in training camp. The more likely scenario is a committee backfield featuring Washington, Richard and an offseason addition.
Washington rushed four times for 16 yards in the Raiders' 27-14 loss to the Texans' in their AFC wild-card playoff game Saturday. The Raiders struggled to move the ball consistently with Connor Cook leading the offense, but Washington's sudden downtick in usage is nonetheless surprising, especially since he's been the most effective Raiders tailback as of late and out-touched starter Latavius Murray in the regular season finale. However, with Murray set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2017, Washington now enters the offseason with an opportunity to seize the top slot on the depth chart.
Washington had seven carries for 43 yards and caught both of his targets for 14 yards in Sunday's 24-6 loss at Denver. Washington didn't touch the ball for three straight games between Weeks 12-14, but has resurfaced as of late, including his 99-yard, two-touchdown performance last week. Meanwhile, Murray was quiet for the second straight week, rushing for just 11 yards on five carries Sunday. The rookie runner should see meaningful work next week in the first round of the playoffs, and the Raiders might need to lean on their running game even more, as rookie Connor Cook might have to start (second-stringer Matt McGloin left Sunday with a shoulder injury).
Washington carried 12 times for 99 yards and two scores during Saturday's 33-25 victory over the Colts. He also caught his only target for 18 yards. Washington hadn't played in three of the Raiders' previous four games, so his sudden involvement in the game plan as anything more than a change-of-pace back comes as a surprise. He ultimately split carries with teammates Latavius Murray and Jalen Richard 12/16/4, respectively, but was clearly the most effective of the group. With QB Derek Carr (broken leg) likely set to miss a period of time, Oakland could turn to a more run-heavy approach starting next against the Broncos. However, it isn't clear to what extent Washington will remain in the game plan considering his out-of-nowhere usage Saturday marked a season high in rushing attempts and likely isn't sustainable moving forward.
Washington ran five times for 23 yards and caught one of three targets for 11 yards in Sunday's 19-16 win over the Chargers. Washington saw all of his work in the first half, mainly on early downs. It was his first significant action since Week 9, when he had 10 carries for 35 yards.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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