Embracing Change: Zamir White and Alexander Mattison Lead the Raiders’ Backfield in 2024

As the Las Vegas Raiders embark on a new chapter without Josh Jacobs, the spotlight turns to a promising duo to carry the rushing load in 2024. Leading the charge is third-year runner Zamir White, a 2022 fourth-round pick from Georgia. Initially playing behind Jacobs, White gradually increased his contributions, moving from a minimal role to a key player. Now, White steps into the lead runner role with renewed confidence and determination.

Zamir White: Embracing the Lead Role

When asked about his readiness for the increased responsibility, White’s response was an emphatic, “hell yes.” Reflecting on his journey, he shared, “Last year, my role was more like [being] a quiet guy. Just like, when they need me, I’m here. But now I have to grow back into that vocal leader, and I’m just showing them on the field, every single day. I’m in this new role, and it’s a whole new ground for me. So, [I’ll] just keep on grinding it out, working, learning from the backs in the room and just progress.”

White’s rookie season saw limited action, with just 17 attempts for 70 yards across 14 games, overshadowed by Jacobs’ NFL-best 1,653 rushing yards. However, anticipating Jacobs’ potential departure, the Raiders increased White’s workload in 2023 to 104 carries, resulting in 451 yards. His standout performance, a 145-yard game against Kansas City, demonstrated his readiness to step up in the Raiders’ offense.

Alexander Mattison: The Experienced Support

Joining White in the backfield is Alexander Mattison, who signed a one-year deal with the Raiders during the offseason. Mattison transitioned from backup to starter after Minnesota cut Dalvin Cook in 2023, providing him with valuable experience in handling increased responsibilities. He understands the challenges White faces, stating, “It’s as difficult as you make it. But with the right guys, with the right group, with the right coach, it makes that process a lot easier. So, for us to be able to have a good group of backs, there’s some young guys in the room, but we’re all relative to one another in that sense, and we help one another.”

Ameer Abdullah: Veteran Presence

Nine-year veteran Ameer Abdullah returns for his third season with the Raiders, adding depth and experience to the running back room. Abdullah’s presence ensures that the Raiders have a seasoned player to guide the younger backs and provide stability in critical moments.

The Committee Approach

While White is the presumed lead back, the Raiders are adopting a committee approach, a strategy becoming more common in the NFL. This approach allows the team to maximize the strengths of each back, ensuring a versatile and dynamic rushing attack. White, Mattison, and Abdullah will need to rely on each other to make the most of their opportunities and lead the team to success.

“If I have a question, Ameer’s there, Zamir’s there,” Mattison added. “If he has a question, I’m here. It’s one of those things where we all help each other out in learning a new system and we’re all in this together. So far it’s working out, and so far, we’re taking those right steps in the right direction.”

As the Raiders adjust to their new backfield dynamics, NFL betting odds reflect the uncertainty and potential of this transition. According to current betting lines, the Raiders’ odds of winning the AFC West are currently at +800, indicating a long-shot status within the division. Bettors keeping an eye on player performance may find value in individual prop bets for White and Mattison, particularly in rushing yards and touchdowns for the upcoming season. With White’s significant opportunity to prove he’s more than just the primary option and Mattison’s supportive role, these betting odds offer a glimpse into the Raiders’ potential this season.

As the Raiders enter a new era without Josh Jacobs, the collaboration and mutual support among their running backs will be crucial for success. White and Mattison, along with the rest of the backfield, are ready to embrace their roles and lead the team forward. The journey ahead will test their resolve and unity, but the Raiders are poised to tackle the challenges with a dynamic and determined rushing attack.

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