Raiders running back Darren McFadden was on pace for over 2,000 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns entering the Week Seven game in which he suffered a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot last year.
The injury proved season-ending, even though McFadden was never placed on injured reserve.
Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen stated early last month that McFadden was “back and ready to go” for 2012, and running backs coach Kelly Skipper gave a more detailed account of McFadden’s progress over the weekend.
“The thing about Darren is, he didn’t have any major surgeries,” explained Skipper, per Steve Corkran of the Oakland Tribune. “So he’s able to come back here healthy and he’s playing at a high level right now and it’s offseason. So, that’s a good thing.
“… He’s out here. You would never know he got hurt. He’s making cuts at full speed, everything.”
The Raiders need a healthy McFadden to stay competitive on the scoreboard while new coordinator Greg Knapp overhauls the offense. Knapp is installing a West Coast-style passing game with a zone-blocking scheme up front.
Oakland’s offseason actions indicate that the organization is counting on a big year from its mega-talented, if star-crossed tailback. 2011 fill-in Michael Bush exited in free agency, leaving slight scatback Taiwan Jones and fumble-prone former Carolina Panther Mike Goodson as the top reserves behind McFadden.
Free agent Cedric Benson is believed to be interested in joining the Raiders, but the feeling doesn’t seem to be mutual.