Programming note: Tony Sparano, Jason Tarver and Greg Olson are scheduled to address the media starting at 1:30 p.m. this afternoon. Watch the live stream right here.
ALAMEDA – Latavius Murray had four carries for 43 yards Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
Both totals were career highs.
The little-used Raiders running back sparked a dead-on-arrival ground game with big runs and power through the line.
His numbers are obviously unspectacular, but he gained more rushing yards in four tries than start Darren McFadden has in six games this season. It’s more than backup Maurice Jones-Drew’s output in the last five games.
That crescendoed ever-present fan clamor for Murray’s involvement, which has fallen on deaf ears. Murray’s actions may have swayed opinion some.
“He played a little bit more yesterday and he’s going to continue to do that,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “I like what I’ve seen out of him so far. So in a roundabout way, I’m saying yeah, you’re going to see more of him.”
Raiders fans haven’t seen much. Murray missed his entire rookie season with an ankle injury suffered in training camp, and has laid fallow while others struggled to produce.
At 6-foot-3, 225-pounds, and with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, Murray is an intriguing prospect. The sixth-round pick from Central Florida hasn’t earned additional playing time, relegated to special teams play most of this season.
It’s been a long wait for the young buck, who wants an increased role.
“Everybody wants to play,” Murray said. “I know I want to play. I just have to be patient and, when my number is called, I have to go out there and execute.”
While there’s no guarantee that Murray will perform well with additional touches, the Raiders can’t get hurt for trying. They’re the NFL’s worst rushing attack this season and could be the worst since 1946.
While Sparano said the Raiders will use Murray, he certainly didn’t break down carry splits. He was conservative in praise of Murray’s performance on Sunday.
“I think Latavius did a good job yesterday with the carries that he had,” Sparano said. "I think that he ran the ball well. Not taking anything away from Latavius – he made one run in there that I thought was very good. Really a good run – saw it well, did a good job there. It was into a pressure and it was a big run.
"I think he made another run in there that was blocked very, very well. I think that any of the guys that were running it there at that point would have made a bunch of yards there. I think Latavius did a good job. His number was called, and he made some plays.”
The Raiders need explosive and efficient play in the backfield, and they haven’t received that from healthy veterans in McFadden and Jones-Drew. That opened the door for Murray to get more action.
“They’ve been wanting to get me in the mix more, and that’s all I can ask,” Murray said. “When they do, I have to make sure I give them a reason to put me back in there.”