ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Even in what qualified as a relatively off day through three weeks of the season, the Oakland Raiders look qualified to make a run at a playoff berth.
A 17-10 win over the Tennessee Titans was unimpressive other than the final result and a 2-1 record.
One of the most anemic running games in recent years has given way to a power-running team that is ranked No. 2 in the NFL at 148.3 yards per game through two games.
An early sample size, but not bad, considering the Raiders were ranked No. 28 last season in rushing and that their second-leading rusher was quarterback Derek Carr.
A year ago, in 16 games, the Raiders' second-leading rusher among running backs was fullback Jamize Olawale with 110 yards on 24 carries. The second-leading rusher overall was Carr, with 138 yards.
Fast forward, and through three games, the Raiders already have three backs over last year's 110 yards by Olawale -- Murray with 153 yards, undrafted rookie free agent Jalen Richard with 129 yards and fifth-round draft pick DeAndre Washington with 117.
Murray gained 1,066 yards and had nearly 72 percent of the Raiders' rushing attempts in 2015. Now it's a three-headed monster, and the Raiders are averaging 5.9 yards per carry.
"I haven't seen anything like it since I've been here," Olawale said. "The whole attitude, the mindset, the coaches putting us in the right positions. You can't help but be successful."
In Week 1, starting right tackle Menelik Watson had a groin injury and was replaced by Matt McCants, who left because of a knee injury. Donald Penn, who had been an exclusively a left tackle since he began his career in 2006, finished out the game on the right side.
Except the effort took so much out of Howard that he was inactive for Game 3. Watson returned, but left with a lower leg injury. That left Vadal Alexander, a seventh-round draft pick out of LSU, to take over at right tackle.
For those keeping score -- that's five players at right tackle: Watson, McCants, Penn, Howard and Alexander.
In making those moves, the Raiders were forced to move left guard Kelechi Osemele from left guard to left tackle and put Jon Feliciano at left guard. That's a lot of moving parts.
"I like the way our lineman have been able to plug in and play," coach Jack Del Rio said. "We had our fifth guy at right tackle and were able to move the ball and function. That's good stuff. And all our running backs are getting opportunities to carry it.
"Last year, I got a lot of questions about whether we were going to develop a guy behind Latavius, and I think we worked hard at that and have a couple of guys that can do that."
SERIES HISTORY: The ninth regular-season meeting, Ravens lead series 6-2. Raiders snapped a four-game losing streak in Week 2 last season with a 37-33 win as quarterback Derek Carr completed 30 of 46 passes for 351 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. Michael Crabtree caught nine passes for 111 yards and a touchdown and Amari Cooper seven passes for 109 yards, including a 68-yard scoring pass. The Raiders have never beaten the Ravens in Baltimore, losing their inaugural game at Memorial Stadium in 1996 and all four games at their current home. In the lone postseason game between the two, the Ravens beat the Raiders 16-3 on Jan, 14, 2011, in the AFC championship game at the Oakland Coliseum en route to a Super Bowl championship
--Some Raiders players were in shock with the news that fullback Marcel Reece, a four-time Pro Bowl selection who played with the franchise with 2008, had been released.
Reece, 31, was serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing drugs. After the appeal was denied (Reece said a chemical reaction to a permitted supplement was the cause) the Raiders fullback missed the last game of the 2015 season and the first three games of the 2016 season.
Although the Raiders had a roster spot open, they opted to release Reece.
"I was expecting to come in today and catch up and get to work," fullback Jamize Olawale said. "It caught me off guard. But I talked to him. He seems to be in a good place. It's hard, though. He was big on this locker room, big on this team and he and I are pretty close."
"I understand it's a business and everything, but it's a shock," Condo said. "He meant so much to the organization, and he was so loyal. Mr. Davis believed in him, and that's not something you forget. You think of a Raider, that's Marcel. He was proud to wear silver
--Tackle Vadal Alexander, a seventh-round pick out of LSU, found himself a crucial role in the third week of his career.
Alexander was inactive in Week 1 in his home town of New Orleans against the Saints, and then played a single snap in Week 2 against Atlanta. On that play, Alexander supplied a block as an extra tight end on a one-yard touchdown run by Latavius Murray.
"I'm the type of guy who always knew I could play and deliver," Alexander said. "Coach (Mike) Tice and the Raiders needed me. I had no doubt I was ready to play."
NOTES: T Menelik Watson did not practice Wednesday because of a leg injury and might not play against Baltimore. ... T Austin Howard did not practice Wednesday with an ankle injury and might not play against Baltimore. ... T Matt McCants practiced for the first time since a Week 1 knee injury and was limited. ... G-T Dallas Kirkland was promoted from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. ... C Rodney Hudson did not practice Wednesday because of a sore knee but is expected to face Baltimore.