LONDON (AP) — Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden wants Marshawn Lynch to see more of the ball when the running back goes up against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
Lynch only had 31 yards rushing on nine carries in last Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and Gruden is looking for bigger numbers at Wembley Stadium in London when the former Seahawk gets his first chance to play his old team.
Problem is, Lynch isn’t the only offensive threat on the 1-4 Raiders who is looking for more touches.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who need to see the ball more,” Gruden said after arriving in the British capital following a nearly 11-hour flight. “We’ve done some good things offensively. But good is not good enough. We need to start playing great offensively. To do that we need to see more of Lynch. And we need to see a bit more of the ball going across the goal line, that’s the big thing.”
Quarterback Derek Carr also said he “definitely” wants to hand off more often to Lynch. He had 20 carries for 130 yards the previous week in the Raiders’ only win against the Cleveland Browns.
“We want to be 100 percent balanced every time,” Carr said. “That kind of balance is good for our football team. It’s good me, it’s good for him (Lynch), it’s good for our offensive line.”
That balance also includes figuring out how to spread the ball around more evenly between Carr’s top receivers, who have taken turns putting up big numbers in different games.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper has been the most inconsistent, with two 100-yard outings mixed with a total of four catches for 36 yards in the other three games combined. Against the Chargers, he finished with one catch for 10 yards and was only targeted once.
However, quarterback Derek Carr insisted that stat was a bit misleading.
“When I look at targets, I don’t look at it as I only looked his way one time,” Carr said. “There was definitely multiple times I was looking his way. But they just didn’t end up working out.”
Cooper is only the team’s third leading receiver this season, behind tight end Jared Cook and former Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson.
The two-time Pro Bowler said he’s happy sharing the load, but also wants to see all of the team’s top threats putting it together at the same time.
“We have a lot of guys with ability. A lot of guys who can go off and kind of take over a game, and that’s a good thing,” Cooper said. “We’d like to do it a bit more collectively, as a group. That would be better, and give us our best shot of winning.”
Lynch, who spent six seasons with Seattle (2-3) and helped the team win the Super Bowl in the 2013 season, was not among the five players who spoke to media at their hotel next to Wembley on Friday. But there’s no doubt he’ll be the main focus when the game kicks off on Sunday.
“He’s had a lot to do with the Super Bowl ring that the Seahawks wear,” Gruden said. “He was the heart and soul of that team. In a lot of ways he’s the heart and soul of the Raiders right now. He’s still running with that incredible physicality. He’s been durable, he’s practiced every day.
“Behind the scenes, he’s one of our leaders. He’s a bit misunderstood by a lot of people. But believe me, if you were coaching a football team, I think he’d be one of the first guys you’d want on your team.”