Last season was a disaster for Raiders running back Darren McFadden.
He looked out of place behind the zone blocking favored by former offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, gaining just 3.3 yards per carry, and missed four games with another in the long list of injuries that have sidelined him throughout his career. The Raiders fired Knapp after the season and McFadden is back as the starting tailback in the final year of his contract. At 26, he said he’s only “shown glimpses” of what he can do and wants to pay the Raiders back for their faith in him.
“The organization has shown tremendous faith in me, and I’m very grateful for that,” McFadden said, via Scott Bair of CSNBayArea.com. ‘I feel like it shows real faith in me and in this offense as a whole. They clearly have confidence in my ability and what I can do in a downhill running scheme. I’m so excited to be able to run in this type of offense again. I feel like I owe the Raiders a fantastic season.”
After eight carries in the first two preseason games, McFadden didn’t play again because of a shoulder injury so we’ve only seen glimpses of him this year. Those glimpses came without Terrelle Pryor in the lineup and with the now-injured Jared Veldheer at left tackle, which makes it something of a mystery how the whole thing will fit if, as expected, Pryor starts at quarterback.
A big year from McFadden would take a lot of pressure off any quarterback and his talent has been obvious in past seasons, but he’ll need to stay healthy for the first time in order to deliver that fantastic season.