Oakland Raiders: 5 Takeaways from Mike Goodson's Preseason Performance

Dan Gigliotti@@dangigliottiCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2012

Oakland Raiders: 5 Takeaways from Mike Goodson's Preseason Performance

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    Mike Goodson could be the front-runner for a backup rushing role in the Oakland Raider offense, but his recent preseason performance against the Arizona Cardinals makes you wonder if he’s ready.

    Since Michael Bush signed with the Chicago Bears this offseason, the Raiders are left to decide who will be No. 2 on the depth chart behind star rusher Darren McFadden.

    Goodson was acquired from the Carolina Panthers in the off-season for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell, presumably to supplant the departed Bush who ran for 977 yards in 2011.

    But his poor performance in Week 2 of the preseason raises more questions about his readiness to help shoulder the rushing load than it did to answer them.

Goodson vs. Arizona Cardinals

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    In the second game of the Raiders’ preseason, the fourth-year Goodson saw his first game action in silver and black.

    He wishes he had it back.

    On six carries for five yards, Goodson lost two fumbles, leaving the game with an undisclosed injury.

    In an interview with CBS Sports following a team practice on Sunday, Goodson admitted his performance on Friday was not up to par.

    “This is a tough game. Come out, man, first game, you want to do good so bad. I had the fumbles. It just didn't go the way that I wanted, but sometimes it goes that way. You just have to come out, put it all behind you and keep playing,” Goodson said.

    Aside from his 0.8 yards per rush, the two factors that stand out here are his fumbles and his latest injury.

Can He Hold on to the Ball

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    Goodson has fumbled five times and lost three in his career. Those numbers aren’t striking, unless you consider he has 125 career carries in three seasons of limited play.

    He had 23 carries in his first season in 2009, followed by 103 attempts in 2010 in 16 games played.

    Goodson received one touch in four games in 2011 on a four-yard pass reception. He did not run the ball once.

    Between his propensity for fumbling and his inexperience running in the regular season, the fourth-year back has much to prove to teammates and fans who will question whether he can be trusted to secure the pigskin.

Is He an Injury Risk?

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    Goodson left Friday’s game nursing what was either a shoulder injury or chest injury, according to CBS Sports.

    This injury is made more disheartening to fans that are familiar with Goodson’s history of ailments.

    Last season, the Panthers put Goodson on the injured reserve list on November 16 following a severe hamstring injury.

    A head-to-head collision with linebacker Philip Wheeler forced Goodson to be taken off of the Napa Valley practice field in an ambulance on August 7. That same neck injury kept him out of Oakland’s first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday, August 13.

    With Taiwan Jones still mending a hamstring injury, Goodson has a golden opportunity to create separation on the depth chart.

    Why, then, are there still doubts?

Is He the Right Man for the Job?

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    In the aforementioned interview reported on by CBS Sports on Sunday, Goodson alluded to his timidity running the ball in Friday’s game.

    “I was kind of hesitant running,” Goodson said. “I really didn't know how I was going to react to the hit, coming off the neck injury. It was a tough deal because when I got hit it kind of shot down my shoulder a little bit.”

    The last thing a running back should be is hesitant. The same goes for any football player. That is the mark of an ineffective rusher. Furthermore, that type of mentality in action perpetuates the chance for any player to get injured.

    If a player is hesitant, he shouldn’t be playing. No wonder he is so injury prone.

    Running backs are expected to crash fearlessly through defensive lines, burst with ferocity into the open field and, often times, initiate contact with defensive backs to gain extra yardage.

    Goodson’s tentativeness is a sign of weakness. It is an unwelcome to Raider fans who have seen quarterback Carson Palmer struggle in his first two preseason outings.

    With McFadden’s history of injuries—including 19 missed games in three seasons— the Oakland coaching staff should be concerned.

    With the emergence of Maurice Jones-Drew on the trading block, as reported on ESPN.com, it would not be crazy for new General Manager Reggie McKenzie to make an offer for him or another back to quell the recent controversy in the Raider backfield.