With the signing of WR/KR Cordarrelle Patterson, a buzz swirled through RaiderNation. Notably, while Patterson acts as the 3rd/ 4th WR, he is a gamebreaking kick/punt returner. With that said, another dynamic returner’s name comes to mind: Jalen Richard. The possibility of these two on the field could be magical for the Raiders. Special Teams coach must feel like Christmas arrived early. Two legitimate big-play threats exist on returns.
In 2016, the undrafted Richard burst on the scene, managing 491 yards on 83 attempts. While not eye raising, he will only improve. Plus, part of his game is making guys miss and coming up with big plays. Whether they can be used together is an interesting question. Granted, they can, but how? Each possesses extensive time in the backfield. As a result, behind that line, potential mismatches exist everywhere. One can start in the backfield and motion out to the flat. In return, defenses would not pack the box. Also, they both could motion out of the backfield, presenting the threat of a no-back formation.
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Playing at the same time should excite teammates and confuse defenses. With that much speed in the back field. Defenses have no choice but to roll the safety up. In that case, tight ends will have free reign to streak down the seam. New arrival Jared Cook exploits single coverage and gets a step on linebackers attempting to cover him. On the outside, both Cooper and Crabtree will see single coverage eventually. The remaining safety may need to pick his poison and choose. Consequently, Clive Walford and Seth Roberts could thrive with this formation. Each need to have big seasons to prolong their Raiders career.
In reality, both will be together on the field on a limited basis. Yet, those minutes opposing DC spend on game planning, embeds that small thought in their minds. For this reason, the Raiders should employ this backfield a couple of times to rattle the opposition. In addition, there are defensive minds in Foxboro that scheme for everything. The more time they waste, the better the odds the Raiders have of winning the AFC.
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