Each offseason, every NFL team focuses on at least one area in need of an upgrade. So what aspect of the Oakland Raiders is better these days?

Training camp have begun to open up all around the NFL for all 32 teams. And that means another preview series from End Zone Score. Dating back to early March, we have taken time to look at each club’s best offseason addition. We even dabbled into some pertinent and historical numbers and previewed an up-and-coming player for each franchise.

Contrary to popular opinions, no team in the league is perfect. That’s why there’s a constant search for talent when it comes to this game. Each club has done its best to bolster its roster. So in this instance, we have been taking a glance at each franchise and pinpoint the department in which a club made the most strides this offseason. We have looked at the AFC East, NFC East, AFC North, NFC North, AFC South and NFC South. We are checking out the AFC West and have already previewed the Kansas City Chiefs. Now the Oakland Raiders are in the spotlight.

Running Game

We heard a lot about the Oakland Raiders’ explosive offense this past season and with good reason. Quarterback Derek Carr enjoyed a great year before going down in Week 16 with a broken leg. The team featured a pair of 1,000-plus yard receivers in Michael Crabtree (1,003) and Amari Cooper (1,153) – both who caught at least 80 passes. Seth Roberts was a big factor, with five of his 38 grabs going for scores.

In 2016, only five teams in the NFL gained more rushing yards per game (120.1) than the Silver and Black. The club scored 46 offensive touchdowns – 17 on the ground. Oakland averaged an impressive 31:18 per contest in terms of time of possession.

Despite the play of Latavius Murray (788), Jalen Richard (491) and DeAndre Washington (467) – who combined for 1,746 yards and 15 scores on the ground – general manager Reggie McKenzie was apparently looking for more. And perhaps even he was surprised that “Beastmode” was willing to make a return to the league. Thanks to a trade with the Seattle Seahawks (who still owned his rights), Marshawn Lynch will now line up in the backfield behind Carr. And think about the damage he could do to opposing defenses behind one of the best offensive lines in the league.

Both Richard and Washington return, as well as veteran Taiwan Jones. For good measure, the Oakland Raiders added running back Elijah Hood (North Carolina) with one of their four seventh-round picks. The physical Lynch should be well rested following a year off from football. And the team’s impressive offensive front should be even better after a year of seasoning. And if the team’s ground game can keep Oakland’s perplexing defense off the field for an additional series or two, a return to the postseason for the second straight year is in the cards.

Russell S. Baxter is the NFL lead columnist for EndZoneScore.com and the founder of ProFootballGuru.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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