Have the Oakland Raiders Improved Their Running Game Enough?

Carson Palmer and Darren McFadden

Kelley Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders have a whole new look to their team and new faces at every position. The problem is they didn’t address the one position where they struggled the most, running back.

The Raiders averaged 88.8 rushing yards per game, which was the fifth worst in the NFL in 2012. In fact, the Raiders only had two touchdowns scored by running backs. That’s right, two touchdowns in 16 games by one player.

Even when Darren McFadden was healthy, he couldn’t manage to get it into the end zone more than two times. The Raiders showed no skill or urgency in the running game or the offensive line. A lot of Raider fans still believe in McFadden and blame the offensive line, but many fans can’t accept the fact that McFadden is a potential bust.

He has all the talent to be a Pro Bowler when he plays, but that is only when he can be healthy enough to carry the ball. McFadden has played five years in the NFL and has not had a full season yet, so there is no argument that he is not helping his team enough.

It is really easy to say that it is the team’s fault as a whole, but look at players like Adrian Peterson and how he led the Minnesota Vikings to the playoffs. McFadden failed to help his team get first downs last season, and unless he shares enough carries with running back Rashad Jennings, rookie Latavious Murray, and fullback Marcel Reece, the Raiders might be looking at another poor rushing season.

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  • Greg Morain

    McFadden’s poor performance last season was the result of an attempt by Greg Knapp at introducing the zone blocking scheme to the offense. While the system takes some time to develop, it also should be built using players that suit the system. McFadden’s style of running certainly did not suit the zone blocking of Mr. Knapp. The current Raiders coaching staff understand that the system must best utilise the talent on the roster. This year the Raiders go back to the power running game and even if McFadden gets hurt you should see improved stats in the run game.
    It is surprising you failed to mention the ill-fated run scheme from last year as one reason for lack of success.