Raider Nation was more than excited when native son Marshawn Lynch signed with the Raiders this season effectively ending his retirement from the game. That joy and excitement has turned to mostly question marks after five weeks. Will the real Best Mode please stand up?
Everyone remembers the powerful and dominant Marshawn Lynch – aka “Beast Mode” -punishing defenses on Sundays for the Seattle Seahawks.
If you were brave enough to meet Lynch head-on, he would certainly make you pay. There have been glimpses of his former self this season as a member of the Oakland Raiders, but not often enough. Raiders fans were jubilant when their hometown son came out of retirement to don the Silver and Black, making this lack of production harder to swallow.
Could fans of the NFL be accurately calling him “Least Mode.”
Clark Kent would quickly change into Superman in the nearest phone booth before saving the day. Maybe the Raiders should invest in a stand alone phone booth on the sideline so Marshawn can become the beast we saw in years past.
The honeymoon for Lynch in Oakland is over (and hopefully sideline dancing as well). It’s time for Lynch to perform.
Yes, the Raiders entire offense has underperformed during this losing streak. Some of the issue is not Lynch’s fault. The vaunted Oakland offensive line has not been itself at times meaning holes aren’t opening up like they should.
Lynch’s self-selected sabbatical kept him away from the game for a year. He had time to heal after carrying the load in Seattle to the tune of 300 times each season. But something is different in the 31 year old’s game. He’s not hitting the holes, seeing the field, or producing like he had in the past. Yes, it’s early and I believe he can – he has some more left in the tank to be certain. But questions remain.
Is this decline predictable? In Lynch’s final season with Seattle (2015), his longest rush was only 24 yards. In that same season Derek Carr – yes the Raiders quarterback – also had a run for 24 yards. Lynch only produced 3 touchdowns that season for the SeaChickens, though he only carried the ball 111 times due to a hernia that required surgery. Marshawn’s average yards per carry peaked in 2012 at an impressive five yards but has fallen this season to just under three-and-a-half.
Five weeks is enough time to get caught up to game speed. Lynch is currently tied for 25th in the NFL in rushing yards, and his average of 3.4 isn’t even in the Top 30.
In the Raiders season opening win against the Tennessee Titans, Lynch carried the ball 18 times. However, in the past three weeks, he’s rushed 6, 9, and 12 times respectively. This leads us to believe the coaching staff is also well aware of what Lynch isn’t bringing like they’d like him to
When your franchise quarterback goes down with an injury, it’s typically for the team’s other stars to step up – especially the running backs. This takes pressure off the backup. The running game for the Raiders this week against Los Angeles is key for them to end their three-game skid.
If the Raiders want to turn this losing streak around, “Lynch needs to return to some semblance of his former self. Perhaps less dancing and protesting and more TD’s and wins Mr. Lynch. Or you just might see speedster Jalen Richard get the majority of carries moving forward.