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Madden: Lynch could key Raiders' short-yard offense

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  • By Edward Lewis NFL.com
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Marshawn Lynch hasn't carried the ball in an NFL game in nearly 19 months, but if he's anything close to the power back he used to be in Seattle, one legendary coach believes the Oakland Raiders' trade for the tailback could be huge.

In an interview with the Raiders' official website Wednesday night, Hall of Fame coach John Madden said if Lynch can get first downs in short-yardage situations, and touchdowns at the goal line, Oakland's offense could change drastically.

"One of the worst things in pro football right now is short yardage and goal-line offense," Madden said. "Teams can't get first downs by running and they get down to the goal line and they're down there on the one-yard line throwing the ball. What's that all about? And I think if Marshawn Lynch can take them out of that -- if he can get first downs on third downs and if he can get touchdowns on goal line -- that would be a great, big deal for the Raiders."

Lynch's career might be remembered most for a play where he didn't get the ball in a short-yardage situation, but the power back made a living picking up tough yards in Seattle. Since 2014, Lynch ranks tied for first (with Demarco Murray) among all running backs in first-down percentage on rush attempts on third- and fourth-and-2-or-fewer (minimum 20 attempts), per NFL Research. In the same time period, Lynch has the second-best rushing touchdown percentage on goal-to-go carries among all backs (minimum 30 attempts) behind only Cardinals tailback David Johnson.

In a video tweeted out by coach Jack Del Rio earlier this week, albeit in nothing but shorts and shells at organized team activities, Lynch has already shown he hasn't lost all of that magic touch despite the long layoff from football.

If that's the case when the pads come on in the fall, the trade for Lynch could indeed be a "great, big deal" for Oakland.

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