Latavius Murray had more rushing yards than any Raider since 2005. The Raiders have been around 56 years, and only nine times has Murray’s 2015 total been exceeded.
Despite those facts, Murray looked back at his 1,060 yards with regret. He feels the total should’ve been higher, the production more consistent. It doesn’t matter that Murray was healthy all year or that he was sixth in rushing and second in the AFC. He was far from satisfied.
“I felt that I left so much out there,” Murray said. “To me, it didn’t feel like a 1,000-yard season. There were games where there was absolutely nothing. For me, I just know I want to get better. I know that if I can move it 1,000 yards with that kind of season, then there’s a lot more out there for me.”
Murray’s probably right. The third-year pro had just two 100-plus-yard efforts, and exceeded 4.5 yards per carry four times. He exceeded 15 carries just eight times, the product of an offense that ran less as games wore on. By Murray's rationale, this season's stats should be a new standard to exceed.
It wouldn't hurt to have a little help. The Raiders didn’t have a complimentary back to spell No. 28 and finished near the bottom of team rushing totals.
Adding consistency to the run game will be a focal point this offseason, which should come with scheme adjustments and talent upgrades up front and behind Murray on the depth chart.
“We’ll improve the running game,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “That was certainly an area I had hoped by this point would be further along. Latavius, we got him over 1,000 yards and he did a nice job of staying healthy and making it through a full season. We feel like there will be an opportunity to really have some growth there. We’ll attack that with all of our force.”
The Raiders need some rushing depth. It’s standard to run multiple backs these days, and Murray could use some help. He held up well despite taking 266 carries, and was durable enough to handle a significant workload.
“That’s big at this level, being healthy,” Murray said. “I wasn’t surprised at all. I was glad that I was able to remain healthy through it all and be able to go out there each week.”
That’s a major step for a young back. He’s a big-play machine and, with some technical refinement, can be a better runner. Murray knows that. It should be encouraging that Murray sees significant room for improvement after a 1,000-yard season.
Murray enters this offseason confident yet driven to show even better in his second season as a No. 1 running back and one of several major offensive components coming back next season.
“I have to continue to do the things I need to do so I’m producing, I’m playing my best,” Murray said. “Obviously, it’s good to know some things are set in stone, but really it’s up me and my position group and what I do as opposed to maybe those other guys. I’m going to keep working on little things that will just make me a complete back and better overall.”