ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch took a year away from football. The Oakland native came out of retirement to play for his hometown team this season, leaving some to wonder if the Marshawn of old would return at 31 years of age.
Washington head coach Jay Gruden has an opinion on that.
"It really looks rusty, I'll tell you," Gruden said sarcastically on a Wednesday conference call. "No, he's fun to watch. I don't like to say that about other people, but it's actually fun and terrifying to watch him at the same time. It's no fun to go against him. The way he runs is a great example for the young running backs that we have, especially with how he protects the ball and the physicality he runs with."
Lynch has shown real aggression when he runs, welcoming contact the way he did as a younger man in Seattle. It's an entertaining, impactful style, especially running behind what might be the best offensive lines in football.
Gruden listed positive qualities of each lineman before landing on Kelechi Osemele.
"Good God, is he a monster?" Gruden said. "…(As a whole), they're strong. They can run between the tackles. A lot of times big guys like that don't pass protect as well, but they're equally good in that area. They're the backbone of that offense. I don't think they get enough credit."
The running game could give Washington fits, but Gruden has to worry about the Raiders quarterback as well. Derek Carr runs a well-oiled offense into Washington on Sunday Night Football.
"He's a great player with great command of the offense," Gruden said. "He really has great receivers catchable balls even when they're covered. He can drop the ball in buckets that not many people would throw, let alone complete. I've been impressed with his poise in the pocket and the success he's had. Great quarterback."