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Darren McFadden draws high praise from Al Saunders

Janikowski-ties-FG-mark-in-Raiders-win-SQCKS1E-x-large AP

We’ve been spoiled in recent years by running backs who make an immediate impact as rookies. From Adrian Peterson in 2007 to Chris Johnson in 2008, football fans expect tailbacks who will be great at the NFL to become great instantly.

And so, when Raiders running back Darren McFadden, who like Johnson was a first-round pick in 2008, didn’t fulfill his potential right away, it was believed that McFadden’s career arc would more closely resemble Reggie Bush’s.  But after generating only 499 and 357 yards, respectively, in his first two seasons, McFadden racked up 1,157 yards in his third season.

This year, the number could go even higher, after McFadden opened the campaign with 150 yards on 22 carries, for an average of 6.8 yards per carry.

One person who thinks McFadden is destined for great things? Raiders offensive coordinator Al Saunders.

He puts McFadden in the same category as other players Saunders has coached, including Marcus Allen, Marshall Faulk, and Priest Holmes. “I’ve been fortunate to be around some great running backs, but he’s one of those guys you put in that class,” Saunders said, via Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee. “He’s a young kid that has just tremendous speed and tremendous potential, he catches the ball extremely well and I think he established what he is last year and he’s continuing to follow in that way this year.”

McFadden is indeed still young. Only 20 when he reported for his rookie training camp, McFadden recently turned 24, giving him five or six more years of possible high-end production. And if he can stay healthy, he could emerge as the top running back in the league — just as everyone expected when McFadden entered the league via Arkansas in 2008.

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37 Responses to “Darren McFadden draws high praise from Al Saunders”
  1. joetoronto says: Sep 17, 2011 11:08 AM

    The kid also runs with tremendous power, lowers the boom with authority and is a damn good blocker too.

    The guy is a beast.

  2. dbellina says: Sep 17, 2011 11:20 AM

    It’s because his legs were too skinny when he joined the NFL. He’s a heck of a running back now though.

  3. jessethegreat says: Sep 17, 2011 11:22 AM

    PFT should Poll the GM’s. I bet most would list Run DMC as a top 5 back in the league.

  4. h3min1230 says: Sep 17, 2011 11:24 AM

    Lets no get ahead of ourselves Al. He’s an injury prone RB and coming off of his 1st 1,000 yard season. Lets see if he can keep this up for another few years before we compare him to guys like Faulk, Allen, and Holmes.

  5. bloggingpoodlewalker says: Sep 17, 2011 11:25 AM

    Watching the Denver db`s get punished at the end of runs was beautiful, DMC lowers his shoulder and blasts those little dudes like Walter Peyton did,…if DMC stays moreless healthy all year he will easily be an MVP candidate.

  6. anhdazman says: Sep 17, 2011 11:36 AM

    Runs with tremendous speed and power. He will give you a lick at the end of his run. He’s also a physical blocker. But, that’s also his poison pill. He will get dinged up at times. So Oakland is smart to have a very capable back up in Michael Bush.

  7. GG Eden says: Sep 17, 2011 11:37 AM

    Someone on inside bay area blog likened McFadden’s running style, vision and guile to OJ Simpson’s, and I thought that was so spot on after watching old highlights of OJ and seeing a highlights package of McFadden.

  8. joecoz17 says: Sep 17, 2011 11:58 AM

    Bills Gameplan…

    Stack the box, make campbell beat you with their backup WRs, contain the outside on the runs, make run DMC run through Kyle Williams and Dareus…

    I like that matchup.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick will exploit the raiders with quick passes over the middle of the field against linebackers who can’t cover.

    Look for Roscoe and Chandler to David Nelson to get a lot of catches…

  9. sterilizecromartie says: Sep 17, 2011 12:36 PM

    At least one of Al’s “Big Three” looks to be a success.

  10. packerswambulance says: Sep 17, 2011 12:40 PM

    Adrian Petersons in a class by himself. Put McFadden in the 2nd tier with CJ, JC etc….Guy is a beast, but dont put him up there with AP…

  11. cjspiller12 says: Sep 17, 2011 12:41 PM

    @GG Eden………..your drinking bong water…..McFadden is not on the same planet as OJ Simpson, nor will he ever be. For obvious reasons, I don’t like OJ, but he was one of the best running backs period, hands down.

  12. 2sloweggroll says: Sep 17, 2011 1:03 PM

    cjspiller12 says:
    Sep 17, 2011 12:41 PM
    @GG Eden………..your drinking bong water…..McFadden is not on the same planet as OJ Simpson, nor will he ever be. For obvious reasons, I don’t like OJ, but he was one of the best running backs period, hands down.

    10 

    **********************

    Drinking bong water? Does that really work

  13. raidertone26 says: Sep 17, 2011 1:04 PM

    Easily the best player on the raiders. Everytime he touches the ball, he has that explosiveness to go all the way. Hope the o-line can block better this year for him because we need him healthy. The guy is a beast!!

  14. luponatrix says: Sep 17, 2011 1:05 PM

    51-3

  15. raidertone26 says: Sep 17, 2011 1:12 PM

    Don’t sleep on the other raider running backs also. Bush and the rookie Taiwan Jones. Jones might be the fastest player with the ball in his hands in the NFL. If d-Mac gets hurt, Taiwan will shine.

  16. xrateplaya says: Sep 17, 2011 1:15 PM

    Run DMC running over Weddle and draggin over the goal line. thats where its at

  17. raiderlyfe510 says: Sep 17, 2011 1:17 PM

    Can’t say enough good things about D Mac he’s a Football’s player Football player…A Raider’s Raider.

    So glad that 5 cent low budget coach Tom Cable is no longer in charge of developing out Multi Million dollar talent. Hue Jackson is the best thing that happened to D Mac in his professional career.

  18. tooz72 says: Sep 17, 2011 2:05 PM

    only a Jills fan would hold on to a game that happened 20+ years ago.. 0-4 in the games that matter, Raiders are 3-2

  19. ronlm says: Sep 17, 2011 2:11 PM

    joecoz17 says:

    Bills Gameplan…

    Stack the box, make campbell beat you with their backup WRs…Ryan Fitzpatrick will exploit the raiders with quick passes over the middle of the field against linebackers who can’t cover.
    ___________________

    Yes… that is what the Bills MUST do to have a chance at winning the game. Problem is for the Bills, going back to last season, the Raiders have faced that exact same game plan week in and week out, and they still put up huge rush numbers, all the while grabbing the #6 spot in scoring.

    Fitzpatrick is going to face one of, if not THE, best DL rotation in the NFL. The Raiders have 7-9 defensive lineman who could start on most NFL teams. Because of the consistent rotation, those big boys are fresh in fourth quarter, while the opposing OL is sucking air and plodding.

    The Bills had better hope for a repeat of their game against the Chiefs… putting up 20 points early… or the Raiders running game and DL are going to pound them into submission. If it’s close in the fourth quarter, Raiders roll to win it.

    IMO, the Raiders DL and blitzes are going to have Fitz running for his life… and will be the main reason why the Raiders win a close game.

  20. JSpicoli says: Sep 17, 2011 2:17 PM

    luponatrix says:
    Sep 17, 2011 1:05 PM
    51-3

    ______________________________________

    Hopefully that is a payback and not a repeat performance.

    Now as far as DMC? He brings the wood. Dude is playing some BALL!

  21. jbcommonsense says: Sep 17, 2011 2:22 PM

    Awesome. I have DMC and Arian Foster as starting RBs!

  22. raiduhdude says: Sep 17, 2011 2:22 PM

    McFadden is the best running back in the league. I might be biased but I don’t care. Great speed, great power, great catching ability. He can also put linebackers on their backs on blitz pickups. And he isn’t a selfish diva like CJ2K.

  23. comebackid says: Sep 17, 2011 2:24 PM

    Big games ahead for this team, good to see some excitement somewhere – a Vikings fan

  24. goawayeverybody says: Sep 17, 2011 2:24 PM

    I love Darren McFadden. So much so that I drafted him on about 12 different fantasy teams this year.

  25. rundmc81 says: Sep 17, 2011 2:45 PM

    Raiders win by 21.. McFadden has 130 and 2td’s.. Bush has 90 and 1td

  26. cjspiller12 says: Sep 17, 2011 2:50 PM

    I have no idea why I have received all the thumbs down on my previous post……obviously must be misinformed Raider fans. First of all McFadden is good, last year was his first good year. McFadden is fast. But the person who posted someone wrote a blog in the bay area comparing him to OJ Simpson and it sounds about right, is completely off their rocker. Maybe you people who gave me the thumbs down are not old enough to have seen OJ back in the day, well I am old enough. Again, McFadden is fast, but OJ had world class speed, he was on the rely team at USC that broke the world record. The speed between the two isn’t even close. Just for the record, OJ still holds the single season yeards per game average which stands at 143.1 ypg. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. OJ was one of the top backs to ever put on an NFL uniform. Jury is still out on Run DMC. Good luck this week Raider fans, should be a great game between Buffalo and Oakland. Go Bills!!

  27. bloggingpoodlewalker says: Sep 17, 2011 3:27 PM

    51-3?…lol….really?…I bet Buffalo would trade that one playoff game for one of Oaklands three Lombari trophies,…Buffalo at least gets to brag about losing four superbowls in a row,..no wonder why so many Bills fans end up at the bottom of Niagra Falls. (They didnt accidently slip)

  28. ronlm says: Sep 17, 2011 3:43 PM

    cjspiller12 says: Sep 17, 2011 2:50 PM

    I have no idea why I have received all the thumbs down on my previous post……
    __________________

    While I didn’t give you a thumbs down for your opinion, it’s simple… in effect, you said DMac will NEVER reach OJ’s status. So, you’re a fortune teller? Not many football fans respect that. Reality is, everyone knows DMac has plenty of talent to reach OJ’s level of play, and while he may not be as fast as OJ, he’s DEFINITELY close.

    But here’s the deal… you have taken a simple comparison, and ran with it (no pun intended). The OP never said DMac would accomplish OJ’s stats. Seriously… anybody who tries to do that is not taking into account things such as…. oh… the team around them?! Here’s what the OP wrote:
    ____________________________
    GG Eden says: Sep 17, 2011 11:37 AM

    Someone on inside bay area blog likened McFadden’s running style, vision and guile to OJ Simpson’s, and I thought that was so spot on after watching old highlights of OJ and seeing a highlights package of McFadden.
    ____________________________

    GG simply suggested that DMac has a similar skillset as OJ. Which I happen to agree with.

    Pardon me Bills Fan, but you’re bias is showing… and it ain’t pretty. :)

  29. luponatrix says: Sep 17, 2011 3:44 PM

    I like when Raiders fans point out the teams’ records from last year but don’t bother to mention that the Raiders got to play six games against the AFC West. That division is garbage – and the Bills just took out its #1 trash bag on the road last week.

  30. mmcdan13 says: Sep 17, 2011 3:48 PM

    To me, his skillset is unreal. He’s built kind of like a cross between Adrian Peterson and Jamaal Charles. Big, but nasty fast. He’s going to have a huge year if he can stay healthy.

  31. bloggingpoodlewalker says: Sep 17, 2011 4:16 PM

    Lupontrix, I love it when Raider fans remind Bills fans they have three rings to the Bills nada,..try head to head matches, try superbowls, try anything,..but you will lose every time. Have a nice day.

  32. grimmlock42 says: Sep 17, 2011 6:18 PM

    Luponatrix, Do we need to point out how pathetic the patriots, jets and the colts were when your bills went to 4 straight superbowls? Yeah!!! That’s what I thought.

  33. raiderapologist says: Sep 17, 2011 7:39 PM

    luponatrix says: Sep 17, 2011 3:44 PM

    I like when Raiders fans point out the teams’ records from last year but don’t bother to mention that the Raiders got to play six games against the AFC West. That division is garbage – and the Bills just took out its #1 trash bag on the road last week.

    Like Bills fans failing to mention starting out 0-8 last season and finishing 4-12, or that Oakland finished last season with a beatdown on the road against the same team you’re hanging your hat on this season.

  34. tooz72 says: Sep 17, 2011 7:56 PM

    Raiders vs the Buffalo Bills head to head..Raiders 19 wins…Jills 16 wins..

  35. jjjm3 says: Sep 17, 2011 9:00 PM

    Too bad he plays in and for Oakland! I feel terrible for him.

  36. rharnes says: Sep 17, 2011 10:45 PM

    I love Bills fans. They haven’t done anything to warrant belitting other fans but they come here talking about their one game wonder QB like he’s the second coming of Dan Marino. Beating up on the Chiefs isn’t really a big deal, they suck. In fact oakland beat them down twice last year. You guys should do something great before you talk a lot. Raider fans coming here and talking up a good running back who has proven himself to be pretty good isn’t the same as saying he’s OJ Simpson. We’ll see how may TDs Ryan K throws this week with Seymore, Kelly, Houston and company draped over him. My money says dude is peeing down his leg by the 2nd quarter.

    Don’t forget Bills fans you were what 4-12 last year? Didn’t you lose your first 7-8 games?

  37. nflofficeadmin says: Sep 20, 2011 12:01 PM

    Is there any bong water left?

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