Coach Dennis Allen said this week that the fact that RB Darren McFadden is going back to a system in which he excelled in will help him.
“(McFadden’s) most effective years have been in a downhill, power scheme,” Allen said this week at the NFL owners meetings “That's why Greg Olson and Tony Sparano are here."
McFadden should bounce back this season as the team moves back to a power scheme. Last year was a case of the Raiders trying to fix something that wasn't broken. McFadden averaged 122 total yards and 0.75 TDs in 20 games in 2010 and 2011.
Thursday, February 14, 2013, 12:14pm
An area Marcel Reece was underutilized last season was as a third down, short yardage back. Greg Knapp miscast Darren McFadden in that role and the offense stalled constantly because of it. That is a role Reece should be playing and new OC Greg Olson intends to use him that way.
"It's nice to know especially from a quarterback standpoint to have somebody who is built like he's built and is also intelligent enough to be that third-down back who understands the blitz packages that other teams are doing and to have tremendous hands coming out of the backfield. I was really pleasantly surprised in that part of the game that he could go in and be a third-down back. Not just a plug-in type guy but not only did he do it but he did it well. I was excited to see that."
This obviously will impact McFadden's involvement in the passing game. We're expecting a better year from DMC due to the Raiders moving back to a power running game, but it sounds as if he won't be used as much on third down.
Thursday, February 14, 2013, 10:33am
"What we've decided to do, as a staff, is see what Darren McFadden is comfortable doing,'' Olson said Wednesday at the team facility. "Let's try and make it more comfortable for Darren, because he's one of our premier players.''
That means emphasizing much more of the power scheme within which McFadden flourished in 2011. It means more north and south running, fewer angles and horizontal attacks. And much less need to read blocks.
We knew Olson would likely ditch the zone blocking scheme that was mostly ineffective in 2011. Provided he can stay healthy, this should lead to a bounce back season for McFadden.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that Tony Sparano has been hired as Raiders assistant head coach/offensive line coach. According to the Oakland Tribune, the team has not confirmed the hire.
Olson is expected to bring a power-run game that should better fit Darren McFadden, who never seemed to find his way in fired Greg Knapp's zone-blocking scheme. That was Knapp's undoing. Olson was an offensive coordinator for six years before his stint in Jacksonville - three in Tampa Bay, two in St. Louis and one in Detroit.
It's good news for McFadden who has proved to be elite when in the right system.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013, 4:04pm
Raiders RB Darren McFadden is due to make $5.6 million in the last year of his contract, and though teams might be interested - and GM Reggie McKenzie might listen - the trade offers probably wouldn't be that big for an oft-injured back coming off his worst season.
And that's fine by HC Dennis Allen.
"I like Darren. I think he's a good running back," Allen said. "He's an explosive player, and I think he can continue to produce in the future."
The Raiders were expected to fire offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and other offensive staff members this week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and a source informed of the news confirmed to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport that Knapp, linebackers coach Johnny Holland and two other unnamed offensive coaches are out.
The Raiders later announced in a release that Knapp, Holland, special teams coordinator Steve Hoffman and offensive line coach Frank Pollack have been relieved of duties.
Knapp preferred a zone scheme in the running game, which collapsed this season. The Raiders finished 28th in the NFL in rushing at just 89 yards per game. They were a top-seven rushing unit over the previous two years. Their supposed star rusher, Darren McFadden, finished with 707 rushing yards and a 3.3 yards-per-carry average.
Assuming the Raiders find an OC who can implement a running game more suited to McFadden's strengths, he should return to RB1 territory again next season.
Monday, December 31, 2012, 1:07pm
Basically, it comes down to this -- Greg Knapp or Darren McFadden.
The Raiders have to make a choice between a beleaguered offensive coordinator whose version of the West Coast Offense and zone-blocking scheme all-but neutered what had ben one of the game's more explosive running attacks and an explosive running back who has a propensity to get injured and yet to play a full 16-game season. Reports have Knapp and other staff members on their way out this week, though coach Dennis Allen would not comment on them Sunday.
Knapp is expected to be fired, so as long as the Raiders hire an OC who plans to run an offense more suited to McFadden's strengths, he should return to RB1 form in 2013. This was a cas of Knapp fixing something that wasn't broken.
Thursday, December 27, 2012, 4:06pm
"We certainly want to get Darren going and we haven't really been able to get it on track on a consistent basis," HC Dennis Allen said.
Friday, December 14, 2012, 7:39pm
Thursday, December 13, 2012, 6:34pm
Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 7:20pm
Tuesday, December 11, 2012, 8:35am
“It made my nerves kind of jittery,” he said. “(But) it was more of a scare than anything. It was cool today. … I was moving good, making all my cuts. I’m not concerned.”
Monday, December 10, 2012, 4:57pm
After missing four weeks with a high right ankle sprain, McFadden rushed for 52 yards on 11 carries and caught a 6-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter of a 26-13 loss to the Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum.
By the end of the game, McFadden was back on the sideline, and in the postgame locker room, he was getting treatment on the same right ankle that cost him a month of the season.
"We just got off the field, so I don't really know exactly where it is, I just know he wasn't able to finish the game," coach Dennis Allen said.
Jason Cole of Yahoo added this tweet: "Talked to a source after Den-Oak game last night. He said McFadden 'tweaked' his ankle and injury is not as serious as before. We'll see."
McFadden turned 13 touches into 64 yards and a receiving TD, while Marcel Reece touched the ball five times (four carries, one catch) for 15 yards. Mike Goodson was active, while Jeremy Stewart was inactive. If McFadden misses any time, Goodson figures to form a RBBC with Reece, who played less halfback in Week 13 (leading to several carries for Stewart). The Raiders play Kansas City and Carolina in Week 15-16, so the remaining schedule is favorable.