Earlier this month, Raiders running back Darren McFadden argued that his injury history was a matter of bad luck and not some personal failing that causes him to miss a chunk of every season.
It would seem that the Raiders agree. There are no plans in place to hold McFadden back this season in hopes of protecting him from injuries and the team isn’t going to do it in the preseason either. Coach Dennis Allen explained the team’s feelings during an appearance on the NFL Network, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle.
“He’s 100 percent,” Allen said. “He’s been extremely explosive throughout camp and in the preseason. He’s very vital to our offense, giving our offense a chance to be explosive and keep the defenses honest. We’re going to have to be able to keep him healthy and use him throughout the year. The thing that you look at as a running back, it’s a tough position and they take some shots. That’s part of football and we can’t baby him, we can’t protect him. We have to go out there and play football and give him an opportunity to carry the ball, and we hope that he’s able to stay healthy.”
Whether you believe McFadden is uncommonly injury prone or not, there’s not much argument with Allen’s approach to handling him once it comes to the regular season. There isn’t a great difference between McFadden not being available because of injury or because his playing time is being limited by the coaching staff when the end result is McFadden not being on the field for the Raiders.
As for the preseason, the Raiders have seen plenty to assure them that McFadden is ready to go after last year’s foot injury. The remaining preseason action might be the time to focus on setting the rest of the running back depth chart.