While no one is suggesting Raiders RBs Maurice Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden are Walter Payton, coach Dennis Allen likes what he sees through three weeks of organized team activities and a day of minicamp.
“When you watch ‘em practice, you see guys that still have explosion, guys that still have run skills, guys that still make people miss,’’ Allen said. “I don’t pay a lot of attention to what the statistics may say. I just see what I see with my eyes, and I see a copule of guys that if they can stay healthy, have the ability to perform at a high level.’’
Quarterback Matt Schaub said the real test will come in pads at training camp, but sees both running backs showing good burst in the open field. He likes their ability to pick up blitzing linebackers and also be explosive in the screen game.
Jones-Drew has been better more recently than McFadden and we feel he has the inside track to the Raiders RB1 job.
Monday, June 9, 2014, 7:45pm
Teams don't usually have their RB1 double as kick returner, so it appears that the team is expecting Maurice Jones-Drew to start with McFadden relegated to RB2 duties.
Thursday, May 15, 2014, 11:15am
Murray doesn't appear to be at the forefront of Allen's mind when discussing his RB corps, which may explain why the Raiders re-signed McFadden and signed Jones-Drew in free agency.
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano gives his take on the Giants backfield:
The Giants signed Rashad Jennings to be their starting running back. They believe he's ready at this stage of his career, after backing up guys like Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville and Darren McFadden in Oakland, to handle a starter's workload. They believe he can catch the ball for them out of the backfield, that he can grind out yards between the tackles and that he's capable of delivering a big play. Assuming he picks up the blocking schemes and can help in pass protection, he's their guy.
That said, Wilson is still on the team, and if the 2012 first-round draft pick shows he's recovered from neck surgery, there is surely going to be a role for a player with his skills. The Giants are hearing good things about Wilson's recovery, but they know they can't count on him, so they signed Jennings and brought back Peyton Hillis in order to construct a backfield in case Wilson can't be a part of it.
I think their plan is for Jennings to get the bulk of the carries with Hillis as his backup, and if they are pleasantly surprised by Wilson's health and availability, they will find ways to work him into the offense. If healthy, he offers a lot.
Jennings was the #6 RB from Week 9 to Week 15 (when he was playing starter’s snaps for the Raiders) and that included a missed game against the Jets in Week 14. The team still believes in David Wilson, but Jennings is fully capable of winning the RB1 job outright. The Giants had a very difficult time running the ball in 2013, so they need to sort out the offensive line as well. Still, Jennings is a three-down back and has a relatively clear path to a starting gig. For a closer look at Jennings' potential workload and production, click here.
Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10:56am
Raiders beat writer Paul Gutierrez says that Darren McFadden has the inside track to be the team's RB1: "If healthy, and that's a big IF, Darren McFadden is the lead dog in the backfield, when you consider his home run potential and familiarity with the Raiders offense."
Jones-Drew, according to the report, is scheduled to have a physical on Friday morning. The report, citing two unnamed league sources, said a contract will be signed later in the day if no issues arise.
Jones-Drew has been more durable and reliable than McFadden. He's missed just 14 games during his nine-year NFL career - 10 of those came in 2012 as a result of a foot injury, the story points out. But from a fantasy prospective, this makes the RB situation a bit of a mess in Oakland, because it's hard to imagine one taking on a pure backup role.
Murray will be an attractive pick in the later rounds given his potential and the chances that McFadden gets injured again during the course of the season. A McFadden/Murray combo should be a fairly cheap way to fill the RB2 spot on draft day, though there's no guarantee that the team's running game will be as productive now that Rashad Jennings is gone. He carried the load down the stretch in 2013.
This is surprising, as the general consensus was that McFadden would sign elsewhere while the team would focus on re-signing Rashad Jennings, who was the far superior runner in 2013. There is no reason to believe that McFadden will return to his 2010/2011 form under the current regime.
Raiders RB Latavius Murray appeared in one preseason game, the exhibition opener against the Dallas Cowboys, and finished with 29 yards on eight carries. It was his only action as the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder was placed on Injured Reserve on Aug. 27 with an ankle injury. “He was never fully healthy,” coach Dennis Allen said at the recent NFL combine. “And every time he got healthy, the ankle reared its ugly head again and he was back down. There were a couple of plays in there ... the Dallas game, maybe, where he got a run over on the sideline and was able to lower his shoulder and really finish a run off really well. So there are plays in there I can think of that are exciting and encouraging to me. But, again, he’s got very limited experience and limited exposure.”
Big things are expected out of a healty Murray, especially with Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings both scheduled to become unrestricted free agents. “I think Latavius is one of those guys that we’re anxious to see be healthy and get out there and play,” Allen said. “He’s a big back that’s got excellent speed and excellent size. He runs tough ... we’ll find out a lot more about Latavius Murray as we go through the offseason program and into training camp.”
While the Raiders are expected to re-sign Rashad Jennings (who was excellent as a starter), McFadden is expected to walk in free agency. Murray could become Jennings' primary backup or even become the starter if Jennings signs elsewhere. The versatile Marcel Reece will have a role as well.
The 12 interviews taped for Pro Football Talk on NBCSN at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday included Raiders coach Dennis Allen, and Allen suggested that Rashad Jennings is more likely to remain a Raider than Darren McFadden.
When listing the team’s priority free agents, Allen specifically mentioned Jennings, who joined the team in 2013 on a one-year deal. Allen didn’t mention McFadden, a first-round pick on 2008 whose rookie contract is expiring.
Rashad Jennings was the #6 RB from Week 9 to Week 15 (when he was playing starter’s snaps for the Raiders) and that included a missed game against the Jets in Week 14. If Oakland re-signs Jennings and lets Darren McFadden walk (as expected), Jennings will definitely be in the RB2 conversation.
Jennings turns 29 this March, so he's unlikely to garner a long-term deal, but a two-year contract sounds like a good idea for both sides as Jennings thrived in the Raider offense after Darren McFadden went down. McFadden is not expected to return. If Jennings is re-signed and no other major competition is brought in, he'll be a sleeper in the middle rounds (4th-6th).
Friday, December 20, 2013, 6:36pm
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (knee, ankle, probable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is probable for Week 16. It appears that McFadden will return this week, and that might cut into the workload of Rashad Jennings, though he’s still a strong RB2 play against the Chargers.
Thursday, December 19, 2013, 6:44pm
Raiders RB Darren McFadden (knee, ankle) took limited practice reps again Thursday. It appears that McFadden may be able to return this week, and that might cut into the workload of Rashad Jennings, though he’s still a strong RB2 play against the Chargers.
Thursday, December 19, 2013, 11:18am
The Raiders will have an interesting decision to make at running back. Due to durability issues, Darren McFadden is almost certainly gone, but 2014 free agent Rashad Jennings has played well since taking over as the starter in Week 9. Since then, he is the #5 RB in fantasy, and that includes one missed game due to injury, so he has the #3 PPG in that span. Jennings will turn 29 in March.