McFadden has garnered the unfortunate label of an injury-prone player, something that he takes issue with. Having played in only seven games during the 2012 regular season and never playing in more than 13 regular-season games in his four-year career, the Raiders organization cannot help but be a little worried about their No. 1 running back’s health.
If he is healthy, McFadden is a force to be reckoned with, but that “if” is the problem.
Cedric Benson would have provided an excellent substitute for the loss of Michael Bush to the Chicago Bears. Bush provided a red-zone presence and a short-yardage situation to complement the home run threat that is Darren McFadden.
Money was likely the main problem for Oakland, and with the Raiders nearing the cap limit, signing Benson was impractical.
So, what will the Raiders do moving forward?
How badly did the Raiders need Benson?
He may have only had 16 carries for 73 yards and a couple receptions for 25 yards, but he should prove to be a decent supporting cast member in the Raiders’ offense.
If new head coach Dennis Allen prefers that McFadden not punch in touchdowns, the responsibility should fall on fullback Marcel Reece.
Reece is the perfect weapon for the Raiders at a position that is generally disregarded when defenses game plan. His skill set goes far beyond that of a blocker—Reece can catch and run like a halfback and should also get some carries like one.
Michael Bush is 6’1” and 245 pounds, which is remarkably similar to Marcel Reece’s 6’1” and 255 pounds.
With the absence of a big-name secondary running back like Cedric Benson, the Raiders will look to Reece and Jones to help McFadden carry the running game.
If McFadden stays healthy, that will be more than enough.
Read more of featured columnist Elijah Abramson's writing at Bases and Baskets' Raiders Blog.