Marshawn Lynch is an interesting character and when he’s around, you just have to sit up and take notice. He’s energy and entertainment, on and off the field. But what was made clear on Sunday is that Marshawn also will elevate the Raiders this season.
For one thing, they’re going to see a lot more favorable matchups outside. There are a lot more one-on-ones when you have Marshawn back there because defenses have to bring that extra guy down into the box to play the run, and if you give Derek one-on-ones, then the defense is going to have a long afternoon because they can beat you a lot of ways with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Seth Roberts and Jared Cook.
The way the Raiders finished off their win at Tennessee shows how Marshawn makes a difference.
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The Titans kicked a field goal to make it a one-possession game with 4:49 to go. If they get a three-and-out there, they have a chance. But the Raiders ran the ball on eight plays in a row. They made two first downs, took more than three minutes off the clock and forced the Titans to burn all three of their timeouts.
At the end of the drive they got a field goal and now it’s 26-16 with a little more than one minute to go, and that’s ballgame.
That’s such a good feeling for a team to be able to say, “We’re running the football. We don’t care what you think about it or how many guys you put up there (at the line of scrimmage), we’re just going to do this and the game is going to be over.”
And that’s a great quality to be able to take the football out of the other quarterback’s hands, especially when you’re on the road.
That’s such a good feeling for a team to be able to say, ‘We’re running the football. We don’t care what you think about it or how many guys you put up there at the line of scrimmage, we’re just going to do this and the game is going to be over.’
It’s so hard to win games and there are so many good quarterbacks in the NFL. If you let it come down to the last possession, a lot of times these quarterbacks are going to find a way to beat you. But Marcus Mariota didn’t get another opportunity to come back on the field until it was too late.
Marshawn and that offensive line, they took care of that.
That’s so deflating to the opposition. It’s deflating the way he does it, also. He runs with an attitude and he’s going to let you know he ran you over.
And Tennessee, that’s a solid front seven and he still got some pretty good yardage. The Titans can make you look bad up front, and they didn’t.
Marshawn has a great attitude. I remember talking to Derek early on in organized team activities (OTAs). They’d be out there in jerseys and shorts, no pads, and Marshawn was lowering his shoulder like, “I’m going to run over these defenders” and he’d go back to the huddle, chuckle and say, “You see how they got out of the way?”
Derek told me after the game was over they all were on Twitter and on their phones trying to find a clip of Marshawn running over Jurrell Casey.
A lot of backs, they’re trying to prolong their careers. Marshawn doesn’t have that switch. With Marshawn, it’s, “I’m going to run the way I’ve always run and I’m going to bring a physical presence with me.”
If you look at those last runs he had the other day, on one he runs over Jurrell Casey – a 305-pound defensive lineman, by the way – and then runs over a linebacker, and guard Gabe Jackson and tackle Donald Penn are down there and they’re grabbing him off the pile and picking him up.
Derek told me after the game was over they all were on Twitter and on their phones trying to find a clip of Marshawn running over Casey.
Those guys are so excited to block for a guy like that. They already had a dominant offensive line and now they have motivation to know, “If we just hold these blocks a little longer, this guy is going to break some runs.”
Marshawn Lynch highlights: fblinks.com/lynch
You have to have a back like that to end football games with. You don’t want to be in a situation like Drew Brees, where every week he’s going to be down at the end of the game and he’s going to have to try to go win this thing.
Those teams aren’t consistently in the playoffs.
A team like the Patriots, they’ve had a stable of backs to go to through the years and as much as we talk about Tom Brady and what he can do, when it comes down to it they’re going to end football games running the ball.
The Raiders have that now, and that’s a really good sign if you’re a Raiders’ fan.
Question of the week
From Bill Ingram, Tulare: When you were playing high school football in Bakersfield, what was the first college that either called, mailed or emailed you showing interest in you to come play for them? Was it a scholarship bidding war?
I still remember where I was sitting when I got my first letter and I think it was just because we were close, but my first letter was from UCLA. It was just a letter. It was typed up and a secretary probably typed it. But it also had a questionnaire in there. You read the letter and it’s how we’d really love you to consider UCLA as a place where you’d like to continue your education and your football career. It was probably something everyone gets. On the questionnaire, you filled out your height, your weight and me and my dad were sitting there like, ‘Well, we have to be honest. I was a junior. I was only like 190 pounds. We thought, ‘I don’t know how many 6-foot-2, 190-pound quarterbacks they want, but let’s put it down.’ So we wrote all the stuff down.
I can remember spreading all the letters out on my bed after the season. My coach wouldn’t give them to me during the season, but my dad was able to grab a couple. There were a lot of Pac-10 schools. I got a couple from Fresno State – we sent their questionnaires in, but nothing ever came to fruition until later. That’s another story. But they would call my dad; I never really talked to any of the coaches. I think I talked to Scott Linehan, who was at Washington and is now in Dallas. The only other coach that I actually talked to was Pat Hill and then Jeff Tedford came out for a practice. It was a different recruiting process for sure. Now, you have tape on your phone, on the internet. They can text you all the time. We never had any of that stuff. It was old-school.
David Carr is a former Fresno State quarterback, NFL No. 1 draft pick and Super Bowl champion. Now he’s an analyst for the NFL Network and writing a weekly column in collaboration with The Bee’s Robert Kuwada. The column is sponsored by Valley Children’s Hospital.
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