If they can bring back Justin Forsett, the Ravens are expected to pair him with a young running back. They met with Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin), David Johnson (Northern Iowa) and Duke Johnson (Miami) at the NFL scouting combine.
"He doesn’t have the wear and tear, and Justin did a very good job of coming in, competing and then being our bell cow," GM Ozzie Newsome said. "We would like to retain Justin, but I’ve learned something since the end of the season about Justin that I didn’t really know. He has mentored some very good, young backs, starting with Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Maurice Jones-Drew when he was in Jacksonville.
"Having Justin here, and with the opportunity also bringing in hopefully another young running back, to have Justin be around that guy would be an asset also. So, we will work to try to retain Justin.”
Under OC Marc Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. Depending on his asking price, re-signing the 29-year-old Forsett isn't a no-brainer for the Ravens, though he's not likely to garner a huge contract in free agency. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he'll likely hold RB2-type draft value if he stays in Baltimore. If the Ravens draft a running back early, it would certainly damper Forsett's outlook in 2015.
Raiders RB Latavius Murray will be given every chance to show he can be a feature back, but HC Jack Del Rio said it's far from a done deal. He'll give Maurice Jones-Drew a chance to rejuvenate his legs, but he's a question mark based on last season's 2.2 yards per carry average. Darren McFadden is an unrestricted free agent.
We don't think that Murray will need extra chances to prove he's a feature back. He rushed 82 times for 424 yards (a 5.2 YPC) and two touchdowns, including an incredible four-carry, 112-yard, two-TD performance against the Chiefs in Week 12. He still averaged a solid (if unspectacular) 4.0 YPC when that game is excluded. With good size (6'2", 223 lbs) and great speed (4.38 40-yard dash), Murray has all the physical tools to succeed at the position. He even showed solid hands with 17 receptions on 23 targets.
Saturday, December 27, 2014, 11:04am
This has not been a great season for Darren McFadden but he has had a significant impact in one category.
For the first time in his career, McFadden has been healthy for the entire season. McFadden is pace to play his 16th game Sunday at Denver in the season finale. He has not missed one game this season due to injury.
In McFadden’s first six NFL seasons, the most games he’d played in a season was 13, which he accomplished twice. He has missed 29 games due to injury since joining the Raiders in 2008 as the No. 4 overall draft pick.
It's good timing for McFadden as he'll enter free agency after this season. McFadden started this season as the backup but took over for an ineffective Maurice Jones-Drew. McFadden has since been replaced by Latavius Murray. McFadden did run well and contribute to the Raiders’ Week 16 win over Buffalo and has 521 yards on 151 carries this season. He'll likely have a reduced role somewhere next season and depending on the situation could at least be on the fantasy radar.
The job appears to be Murray’s for the rest of the season. He had 23 carries for 76 yards against the 49ers. Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew have been disappointments this season. It is likely neither will be back next year. Thus, Murray will get the chance in the final three games to show Oakland it doesn’t have to worry about finding a lead back. Murray is an interesting player. After missing his rookie year last season with an injury, the former sixth-round draft pick started very slowly. But he has played well in the past three weeks, highlighted by his 90-yard touchdown run against the Chiefs on Nov. 20. The Chiefs will clearly be keying on Murray in this game. It will be fascinating to see who wins this battle.
After saying that Murray wouldn't be the workhorse, the team gave Murray workhorse-type carries in a grind-it-out win against the 49ers in Week 14. Murray has a terrific matchup against the Chiefs, who have yielded 4.9 YPC this season. The question is -- can Derek Carr provide enough of a threat in the passing game to keep Kansas City from keying on Murray?
Friday, November 28, 2014, 6:04pm
Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion, out) missed practice Friday after taking limited reps Thursday and is out for Week 13. Darren McFadden will likely lead a committee that could also include Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcel Reece.
“It’s no secret that my philosophy is to run the football,” Sparano said, “to keep games tight and try to be able to get yourself in a situation where you can win football games at the end of a game.”
The numbers certainly support that claim. Sparano ran the football 45.6-percent of the time during nearly four full seasons as Miami Dolphins head coach.
Sparano stuck to his guns – he made the Wildcat formation famous at the NFL level – and continued to run even during some lean years.
While Greg Olson will continue calling plays, Sparano is an offensive minded coach and will exert greater influence in the offensive game plan.
At running back, Oakland coach Dennis Allen told reporters in London on Friday that Darren McFadden is in line to make his third straight start, but Maurice Jones-Drew is probable to play for the first time since suffering a hand injury in Week 1. McFadden is getting the start based on more practice time.
It most likely doesn't matter a whole lot who the starter is because it doesn't necessarily mean McFadden will get the bulk of the work. MJD, assuming he plays, is very likely to factor in as well which means it's committee situation. It's a good matchup against the Dolphins, but we see both backs more of RB3 or flex options at best.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:33pm
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand, probable) took full practice reps again Friday and is probable for Week 4. Jones-Drew was running ahead of McFadden prior to the injury, but may be in a full-blown committee upon his return. The Raiders running game isn't strong enough to support one running back, much less two. MJD's only game thus far was against the impossible-to-run-on New York Jets, so there's still a chance he becomes fantasy relevant this season.
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:48pm
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) took full practice reps Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Jones-Drew was running ahead of McFadden prior to the injury, but may be in a full-blown committee upon his return. The Raiders running game isn't strong enough to support one running back, much less two. MJD's only game thus far was against the impossible-to-run-on New York Jets, so there's still a chance he becomes fantasy relevant this season.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 7:09pm
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) took limited practice reps Wednesday. Jones-Drew was running ahead of McFadden prior to the injury, but may be in a full-blown committee upon his return. The Raiders running game isn't strong enough to support one running back, much less two. MJD's only game thus far was against the impossible-to-run-on New York Jets, so there's still a chance he becomes fantasy relevant this season.
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew says that he feels well enough to take the next step and play against the Dolphins in Week Four. Jones-Drew admitted that the choice isn’t entirely up to him, but things are pointing in that direction and Jones-Drew is looking forward to renewing his partnership with Darren McFadden.
“Just trying to get on the field and help my man out,” Jones-Drew said, via NFL Media. “I feel we both do better if we both out there. So obviously he’s been taking the brunt of the carries and the brunt of the reps, so I want to get out there and try and give him a blow here and there and let him get his legs back underneath him so he can run.”
Jones-Drew was running ahead of McFadden prior to the injury, but may be in a full-blown committee upon his return. The Raiders running game isn't strong enough to support one running back, much less two. MJD's only game thus far was against the impossible-to-run-on New York Jets, so there's still a chance he becomes fantasy relevant this season.
Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:09pm
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand, questionable) took limited practice reps again Friday and is questionable for Week 3. Jones-Drew seems headed towards being active for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:30pm
Raiders RB Maurice Jones-Drew (hand) returned to limited practice reps Thursday after missing Wednesday practice. MJD’s return throws the Oakland backfield back into flux. He might be worth a pickup in deeper leagues if he hit the wire. We shouldn’t read too much into a poor outing against the Jets, who are very difficult to run on.
Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 6:15pm
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