Darren McFadden expected back, but Raiders will keep running Rashad Jennings

AP

The Raiders have seen running back Darren McFadden get hurt many times over the years and they usually find themselves waiting impatiently for his return because of the impact his absence has on the running game.

That hasn’t been the case this year, however. McFadden has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury, which has opened the door for Rashad Jennings to me the lead dog in the backfield. Jennings has made the most of the opportunity, gaining 553 yards on offense since McFadden was injured during the team’s November 3 loss to the Eagles.

That’s the most yards of anyone in the league over that period and Jennings has averaged 5.1 yards per carry, a good bit better than the 3.6 yards McFadden is averaging. Coach Dennis Allen said Tuesday that Jennings’ production will keep him front and center in the offense even if McFadden makes his expected return to the lineup on Thanksgiving against the Cowboys.

“You can’t deny Rashad Jennings over the last month of the season has led the NFL in yards from scrimmage,” Allen said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “I think he’s earned the right and deserves the right to continue to get his carries and touches and we’ll still do that.”

McFadden’s contract is up after the season and it’s hard to see the Raiders recommitting to him after another season plagued by injuries that saw them find a ground game elsewhere. Jennings is also set to become a free agent and his work should earn him a nice bump from his $630,000 contract this year whether it comes in Oakland or somewhere else.