ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — With a starting running back that hasn't had more than 100 carries in a season since entering the
The race to be Latavius Murray's backup remains wide open heading into the third exhibition game Sunday against Arizona, with no one able to seize the job either because of injuries or ineffectiveness.
That has helped open the door for undrafted free agent Michael Dyer to make his case for the job. After struggling in the preseason opener, Dyer ran for 45 yards on 12 carries last week in Minnesota.
"I feel like I got my confidence up because I was able to get into a rhythm and up to game speed," Dyer said. "Going from the first game to second game you try to build confidence and get the offense down. By the third game you should be able to have control of the game and play hard and fast."
It's been quite a road for Dyer, a freshman star at
Dyer had a pair of 1,000-yard seasons at Auburn before being suspended for the bowl game his sophomore year and then transferring to Arkansas State. He got dismissed from the team before ever playing at Arkansas State.
Dyer earned his associate degree at Arkansas Baptist College before playing his final two years at Louisville, where he rushed for 704 yards in 17 games. Dyer was not drafted and didn't earn an NFL contract until after impressing the Raiders enough on a tryout at rookie minicamp in May.
"He runs hard and is very determined," coach
Richardson had a much easier entrance into the NFL after starring at
Richardson has gotten most of the second-team work so far. He is far from assured of staying in that role once the season begins.
"He's got to earn it," Del Rio said. "He's got to be good enough as a backup. We've got to see some of the explosiveness that he had when he was a young man playing for the Crimson Tide there. He's got to have a role on special teams and he's got to be able to help us win on Sundays. That's the challenge for him right now."
Despite missing most of training camp, Helu figures to have a role because of his skill as a third-down back able to pick up blitzes and make big plays as a receiver out of the backfield.
Helu has 129 catches in 48 career games and was tied for fourth in the league among all running backs with 31 third-down catches the past two seasons. He hopes for a bigger role in Oakland, but knows Murray will be the lead back.
"I think most everybody's desire as a running back is to get involved with a rhythm because that's such a big part of the position," he said. "At the same time, my last couple of years I've been in the NFL I was designated in that role. Whatever role I'm playing and whatever that looks like I'll do my best at it."
The wild card at the position is