Running back Darren McFadden has been healthy through the first four games of the Raiders season, but their rushing attack has not been as robust as hoped.
The team is dead last in the NFL with 60.8 rushing yards per game and getting better was a point of emphasis during the bye week. Running backs coach Kelly Skipper and quarterback Carson Palmer both said that the team wants to run the football more often in hopes of hitting some big plays that will get that part of the offense moving in the right direction.
Coach Dennis Allen said that he’s seen progress during the bye week, but cautioned that the team isn’t going to move away from the zone blocking system installed by new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp this offseason. To many observers, the poor fit of the Raiders personnel with that system has been the biggest problem with the run game in the first four games.
“You can’t throw everything out and just start over in the middle of the year,” Allen said, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “There have been a few tweaks, a few emphasis points but nothing like a drastic change other than we’ve got to execute better.”
The Raiders could have a chance for better results this weekend. The Falcons have allowed more than five yards per carry so far this season, which is considerably more than the Raiders have been able to muster up to this point. If they start to see positive results on the ground, the Raiders have a chance to rebound from their 1-3 start and lift themselves back into the AFC West mix.