Skip to content

Darren McFadden excited about new Raiders offense

Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Getty Images

One of the reasons cited most often for Greg Knapp’s ouster after one year as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator was that running back Darren McFadden never looked comfortable running the ball in Knapp’s zone blocking oriented system.

Greg Olson is now running the offense, the zone blocking has been scrapped with Tony Sparano now overseeing the offensive line and the Raiders are hopeful that the change results in renewed productivity from their star running back. McFadden is also sounding some hopeful notes about the offense and is optimistic that it will help him be the “top-five” back that he still believes he is.

“This is very exciting for me,” McFadden said, via Vic Tafur of the San Francisco Chronicle. “I am the type of guy who likes to go downhill, make a cut and go; that’s my thing. We’ll mix it up like we used to, and get some zones in there, but for the most part, I will be keeping my shoulders toward the line of scrimmage.”

McFadden is entering the final year of his contract and Tafur reports that the team is open to talking about extending their relationship with the talented and oft-injured back beyond this season. That would be a departure from the general housecleaning that’s been going on in Oakland, albeit one that could make some sense if McFadden is able to find more successful footing in the Raiders’ new offensive scheme.

Permalink 34 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Home, Oakland Raiders, Rumor Mill
34 Responses to “Darren McFadden excited about new Raiders offense”
  1. snowman36 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:16 PM

    2, maybe 3 weeks before he is on IR?

  2. jturbo1402003 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:26 PM

    Every Raider fan knew a week or two into the year that McFadden wasn’t a good got w the zone running game & we should’ve ditched it then but no we kept it all yr long. I know he is often injured & hard to plan ur offense around if not there but he is our best offensive weapon & to use him incorrectly over & over last yr was hard to watch & made little sense. Excited for this year & hope he finally stays healthy.

  3. anhdazman says: Apr 7, 2013 1:29 PM

    You got to take the positives with the negatives in a RB as talented as McFadden. His running style will take some lumps and there’s a good chance he’ll miss a few games. But when he’s on, he’s a 5 ypc type of RB that can be a top 5 RB in the NFL.
    Two years ago he was averaging over 5 ypc and the rushing leader in the AFC before the freak foot injury. Year prior, he was another 5 ypc RB with over 1100 yards missing 3 games.
    Raiders just need to get another quality RB behind McFadden. It would also be ideal to get a goal line RB to save some of the big hits that McFadden loves to take and dish out. That will save him for the long haul of the season.

  4. sickoe47 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:34 PM

    He should be excited,entering a contract year with the team,working with a new offensive cordantor that’s going to work with his strengths,new talent to the roster everyone’s excited again over raiders football.

  5. bmoreravens1012013 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:34 PM

    They can have as many schematic changes all they want, (and I wish injury upon no one ) ,but he will be injured by week 10 more than likely. It’s unfortunate because he is such a talented runner ,but that whole organization is snake-bitten and he is no exception.

  6. raiderssf says: Apr 7, 2013 1:34 PM

    Through all the turmoil with the Raiders organization over the years, McFadden has and is still positive about being a Raider and the future of the Raiders. Gotta love it.

  7. spellingcops says: Apr 7, 2013 1:37 PM

    Excited to get back to a 10+ loss season…

  8. dontrunfromme says: Apr 7, 2013 1:42 PM

    Knapp failed twice in Oakland. Should have never been brought back under the new regime.

  9. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:46 PM

    im taking bets, which week he ends up on IR, i say week 7

  10. damnskins703 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:48 PM

    What’s he excited for? He will be hurt by week 3 guaranteed

  11. otto00 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:48 PM

    I predict 2 things:

    1. McFadden will have a big year with more power running scheme

    2. He will be penalized repeatedly for finishing runs with the new helmet rule.

    DMac knows how to punish a tackler – too bad he’ll likely get flagged for it this year.

  12. dan1756 says: Apr 7, 2013 1:57 PM

    Mcfadden is a beast when he’s healthy and in the right system. I know it’s a big “if”, but “if” he can stay healthy in this new system, the Raider running game could do very well…

  13. simonwelds says: Apr 7, 2013 1:58 PM

    If your excited about tony sparano your delusional

  14. piratesofthecoliseum says: Apr 7, 2013 1:59 PM

    I luv how these donkees fans (spellingcops) talk so much trash when they haven’t done a thing lately!!! I don’t care if ur team goes 16-0 in the regular season and gets to the superbowl, if u lose, ur season is a failure just like the 30 other teams!! So talk all u want but til the donkees win the superbowl they’re in the same boat as the Raiders!!!!

  15. raiderapologist says: Apr 7, 2013 2:10 PM

    McFadden might be getting excited about a completely different offense if McKenzie trades him. I’d like to see him get one more shot to stay in his cleats for the majority of a season. If they can get him going and keep him going he’s good enough to make a difference, but that’s a big if.

  16. oaklegend says: Apr 7, 2013 2:15 PM

    yeah, he’s got some injury history and what I see are the fans of other teams hoping against hope that injuries catch up to him again. Kid’s flat lethal when he’s healthy.

  17. therealraiderduck says: Apr 7, 2013 2:36 PM

    McFadden may well have a big year. Remember that it’s his contract year, so he’s more likely to play through pain, take the injections and do what he needs to do to get out there on the field.

    This is also why, even if he does have that big year, Reggie should not sign him long-term but just Franchise him. If he gets a long-term deal, it’ll be right back to the I-don’t-believe-in-painkilling-injections, someone-sneezed-on-me-so-I’m-out-the-next-five-games DMac we all remember.

    If he plays well this year, Franchise him. If he plays well next year, Franchise him again. After that? He’ll turn 30 and likely be used up, and we can simply let him walk with no further commitment.

  18. dalucks says: Apr 7, 2013 2:48 PM

    Congrats to Darren and I hope he is healthy and very productive in 2013.

  19. 44mpo says: Apr 7, 2013 2:54 PM

    I like the coaching staff that McKensie and Allen are putting together this year and some of the personel changes made. I think the Raiders might surprise some folks this year. Will they be in the Superbowl? Not likley. But I think they are going to be much more competetive than haters think.

  20. Grinds My Gear says: Apr 7, 2013 3:12 PM

    McFadden is a 2000+ yards from scrimmage type of player if one of two things happen.

    #1 He stays healthy
    #2 The offense is scheme for him, meaning no zone block style that Houston (and Shanahan Broncos) run. Limit the cuts he has to make. The guy is 6’2 220lbs, let him run downhill

    Of the two, 1 of them is a very easy fix. The other, let’s hope he can build muscle where we didn’t even know muscles exist to protect his body from punishment.

  21. demolition510 says: Apr 7, 2013 3:52 PM

    DMC is a beast when healthy with a power scheme. He just needs to share the workload

  22. lunarpie says: Apr 7, 2013 4:07 PM

    McFadden loves that Knapp is gone, no doubt. He will not go on IR with the right style of offense. Actually reminds me of #32 Marcus Allen with his style of play! Just get him another offensive weapon and McFadden will be a candidate for MVP 2013.

  23. mgifford15 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:10 PM

    Hes also excited about watching it operate from the sidelines after he’s injured in week 6.

  24. ademell1 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:21 PM

    Mcfadden is a top 5 back in a power scheme. DA never thought the switch to the ZBS would go over so badly, but it did (and a lot of that has to do with how poor Greg Knapp is an offensive coordinator). At least he acted swiftly at season’s end and fired Knapp and brought in a guy in Greg Olsen who is well respected around the league and more importantly – be able to play to his players strengths instead of making players fit to his scheme.

  25. bukes111 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:25 PM

    Can someone explain why the zone blocking scheme affects a RB so much. From what I understand, in a regular blocking scheme, each blocker is assigned a defensive player, (ex. FB blocks MLB) to block. In a zone blocking scheme, a blocker picks up the first guy he sees. I understand why linemen have difficulty adjusting, but in both schemes, the RB is expected to find the hole and shoot. What am I missing?

  26. mullman76 says: Apr 7, 2013 4:34 PM

    The new helmet rule (which is not reviewable) is just another way the league can control the game via phantom calls.

    Giving the refs more chances to make split-second judgement calls that can not be reviewed will only lead to controversial endings to games.

    It’s going to get ugly.

  27. slickster35 says: Apr 7, 2013 5:36 PM

    No one dominates in the off-season like the faiders.

  28. blackngold4life says: Apr 7, 2013 6:33 PM

    Yeah..but will he be around to play in it?? Or on I.R as always??

  29. raiderapologist says: Apr 7, 2013 10:01 PM

    spellingcops says: Apr 7, 2013 1:37 PM

    Excited to get back to a 10+ loss season…
    ————
    The Raiders have sucked for a decade and are still the last AFC West team to even get a title shot. Nobody cares how many regular season wins you have if you can’t win when it counts.

  30. Raider-in-PA says: Apr 8, 2013 8:15 AM

    Power blocking scheme + 16-game healthy DMAC = 1,000+ yards

  31. citnetter says: Apr 8, 2013 8:46 AM

    Yes, Sparano is known thoughout for his juggernaut offenses. His scheme worked out well for the Jets.

  32. bakersbuc30 says: Apr 8, 2013 12:38 PM

    Am I alone in thinking that Mcfaddens interview comments about ” Having his shoulders pointed toward the line of scrimmage” is more about the N.F.L and officials that may see theese comments and remember during the season when he decides to lead with his helmet while running ” NEW RULE” 1 smart Raider. Game planning early.

  33. platinumraider32 says: Apr 8, 2013 7:06 PM

    bukes111 says:
    Apr 7, 2013 4:25 PM
    Can someone explain why the zone blocking scheme affects a RB so much. From what I understand, in a regular blocking scheme, each blocker is assigned a defensive player, (ex. FB blocks MLB) to block. In a zone blocking scheme, a blocker picks up the first guy he sees. I understand why linemen have difficulty adjusting, but in both schemes, the RB is expected to find the hole and shoot. What am I missing?

    ____________________________________

    Zone Blocking is a “timing” based scheme. The RB is running to a spot. If the lineman don’t make the proper reads and get to their spot it holds the runner up. Most running backs are instinctive, so if nothing is there they will immediately re-route themselves to create space. With zone blocking they are committed to where they are so if nothing is there it appears as if they are just running into the line. Also zone blocking is better suited for lineman under 300 lbs, which most teams don’t have. Smaller more agile lineman can flourish in the scheme.

    This is just zone blocking on the surface but you get the general idea.

  34. spinmovr says: Apr 8, 2013 9:12 PM

    Zone Blocking is a “timing” based scheme. The RB is running to a spot. If the lineman don’t make the proper reads and get to their spot it holds the runner up. Most running backs are instinctive, so if nothing is there they will immediately re-route themselves to create space. With zone blocking they are committed to where they are so if nothing is there it appears as if they are just running into the line. Also zone blocking is better suited for lineman under 300 lbs, which most teams don’t have. Smaller more agile lineman can flourish in the scheme.

    This is just zone blocking on the surface but you get the general idea.

    And in OAK’s case those linemen didn’t have the skills to execute it. Like he mentions above the movement of the offensive linemen is supposed to force the defenders to flow sideline to sideline more rather than attack the line of scrimmage. OAK’s linemen weren’t quick enough to the point of attack and yeah there are a lot 0 and 1 yard gains. That’s one of the many appeals of the ZBS: few negative yardage plays. Another is that most defenses don’t have enough defenders who can last an entire game running sideways to tackle ball carriers. In the third quarter, a well run zone blocking attack will have neutralized out of shape DTs (340 pounders just can’t have good conditioning). The final appeal is that zone blockers can knock a moving defender out of the way with a “nudge” instead of trying to outmuscle a stout defender with lower pads and leverage.

    OAK doesn’t have O-linemen with that ability. They’ve got maulers and McFadden is skilled at hitting the lane when he sees it.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!