The Raiders had a disastrous season running the football last year. Their ground game ranked 28th in the NFL, with 88 yards per game, and blame fell on a zone-blocking scheme that cost offensive coordinator Greg Knapp his job. Darren McFadden averaged a career-worst 3.3 yards per carry and had just three total touchdowns in 2012. Zone blocking hurt McFadden the most, taking away his ability to shake tacklers, improvise on the fly and grind out extra yards. An ankle injury sidelined him four games and marked the fifth straight season health issues slowed him down.
McFadden couldn’t be more motivated heading into a contract year. Last year’s frustration is this season’s drive, and he’s vowed to be the dynamic workhorse of years past. New coordinator Greg Olson installed a power-based rushing system that should benefit McFadden’s downhill rushing style.
After averaging 5.2+ YPC in 2010 and 2011, the Raiders (ponderously) switched back to a zone-blocking running scheme, to which we already knew DMC is not well-suited. He's a top 10 talent when healthy, but his durability will always be a concern. His owners long for the 1,664 total yards and 10 TDs he posted (in just 13 games) during the 2010 season.