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.