Jalen Richard: 2017 Was A “Grimy” Year For The Raiders

After a dynamic rookie year, Jalen Richard looked like he could be one of the Raiders offensive cornerstones, but following a difficult sophomore season, Richard badly needs a rebound season.

Hosting an inaugural football camp at the high school where he once played, Richard talked about the “grimy” year the Raiders had in 2017 and shared enthusiasm for what’s ahead under Jon Gruden.

“He’s a good coach and loves football,” Richard told Alexandria (La.) Town Talk. “He’s very passionate about coaching and getting the best out of his players. We see that and gravitate to that. He’ll get on your butt, if you’re messing up. He is the epitome of what being a Raider is all about.”

“The second year, I had to learn how it worked behind the scenes. It was a grimy year, especially on a team where you’re losing. It was tough, but I stayed consistent. I didn’t fall off, but it was just a rough season for everybody on the team.”

In fact, Richard did see a significant drop in nearly every offensive category in 2017. His total rushing yards (491 to 275) were nearly cut in half and his yards per carry dropped from 5.9 to 4.9 – which is still a respectable average.

The 2017 statistic that will be hard for Gruden to overlook, however, will be Richard’s fumble rate. The second year runner/returner had 8 fumbles last year which was good enough (or bad enough) to lead all non-quarterbacks in the league.

One of the most talented backs in the Raiders backfield, Richard might still find himself on the trade block or cut if he doesn’t solve his ball security issues between now and September.

Gruden’s patience with fumbles isn’t expected to be anywhere near what Jack Del Rio exemplified a year ago – and no one is complaining about that.

twitter: @raidersbeat