ALAMEDA — Jalen Richard is enjoying life as a satellite, although the third-year running back laments the one that got away.
Richard caught a career-high nine passes for 55 yards for the Raiders in the Week 1 loss to the Los Angeles Rams, although it’s likely the play that gives the Denver Broncos the most concern fell incomplete.
It happened in the third quarter, with the score tied 13-13. Richard’s vision was obscured by Ndamukong Suh, he broke too quickly over the middle and Derek Carr’s pass fell incomplete on third-and-10.
“I raked the dude on the route, I saw the ball late,” Richard said Friday. “With my speed, it could have gone the distance.”
Gone are the days of worrying only about swing passes and option routes, serving as a pressure-release for Carr when he’s in trouble.
Richard has to know the various responsibilities of the receivers as if he were Amari Cooper or Jordy Nelson and also be in concert with Carr.
“I’ve got to think like D.C. I have to read coverages like he would read them,” Richard said. “When D.C. drops back, where does he want me? I don’t always have a specific area where I’m supposed to be. There are sit-down areas based on where he is and I need to know what he’s thinking.”
Gruden calls it a “satellite,” a running back who, in addition to carrying the ball, has even more of a responsibility in the passing game. In part because of game circumstance, with the Raiders trailing in the second half, Richard wound up playing more than any other back with 37 snaps, followed by 27 for Marshawn Lynch and 10 for Doug Martin.
Expect Gruden and Carr to look for opportunities to isolate Richard against Denver linebackers on Sunday.
“If you want to attack certain coverages, sometimes the best matchup you can find is a back against a linebacker,” Gruden said. “I’ve seen the Patriots do quite well with their backs. He’s emerging in that role, and I think he can be great in that role.”
Defensive tackle P.J. Hall (ankle) did not practice and will not travel to Denver Saturday. Players listed as questionable who were limited at practice were wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris (foot), guard Gabe Jackson (pectoral) and running back DeAndre Washington (knee).