Most coaches want their teams to get off to a running start, but for Darren McFadden, he is doing the exact opposite of that.
The Oakland Raiders are the worst team on the ground, ranking 32nd in rushing yards, leaving them in last place for rushing in the NFL. Former fourth overall pick in the draft, McFadden is stuck in second gear and is not contributing to the Raider offense at all. McFadden has one touchdown in five games, and is averaging 3.5 yards per carry. He has a total of 201 yards going into Week 6, and his longest run was 64 yards. This means that a fourth of his production was off of one carry, and that one carry…is his only touchdown.
Going into the season, fans worried about the receivers on offense and thought most of the work load would be on McFadden. No one could have predicted that his poor running game, along with Mike Goodson and Taiwan Jones, would make the Raiders into one of the least threatening offenses in the league.
Quarterback Carson Palmer has some of the blame on his shoulders, but he can’t do it alone. If anything, Palmer is doing well enough with what he has on offense, producing solid numbers with a lackluster offense. Palmer has told reporters that he believes that they need to stick to the running game, even through the team is struggling rushing the ball at all with an average of 61 rushing yards per game.
The fact of the matter is that the Raiders are a defensive minded team, and most defensive minded teams need to pound the ball with the ground game. The offensive line needs to step up, as well as every running back, and they need to start get forward progress. They don’t need 60-yard gains on every play, they need positive yards while punishing opposing defenses to open up the pass. Palmer needs to be able to trust McFadden on getting four yard gains on every carry, that way it opens up the play-action pass and audible plays.
With Peyton Manning‘s inconsistency and Matt Cassel’s injury, the Raiders still have a shot at the division if they start getting first downs and giving the defense some breathing room. The Raiders are capable of running away with division by the end of the season.