5 Oakland Raiders Who Must Step Up After Darren McFadden's Injury
X-Rays are negative for Raiders RB Darren McFadden, but he will not return in the second half
— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) November 4, 2012
Losing McFadden is obviously a big blow to the Raiders offense, but at 3-5, Oakland is not out of the AFC playoff race just yet.
Players will need to step up in McFadden's absence should he miss an extended period of time. Run-DMC is an elite weapon, but Oakland is a team with multiple players that can contribute all over the field. It starts with the No. 2 man at RB on the depth chart, and a player that suffered a minor injury against Tampa Bay as well...
RB Mike Goodson
When Darren McFadden exited the game, it appeared Mike Goodson would be given his chance to step into a featured role.
He had averaged 7.4 yards per carry on 15 attempts entering the game and is a solid between-the-tackles runner.
Unfortunately, Goodson quickly left the game with an ankle injury of his own. If he is able to return before McFadden, it will be imperative that he continues to showcase the burst and power that has been demonstrated in his limited action this year.
TE Brandon Myers
Without one of the most dynamic running backs in the league, it will become imperative that Brandon Myers step up his game.
Short-yardage situations may become prime opportunities for Myers to move the chains for Oakland.
He stepped up accordingly against Tampa Bay, catching eight passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns. Myers is a solid pass catcher and a quality target that has been severely under utilized this season.
That may change without McFadden.
RB Taiwan Jones
Listed as No. 3 on the depth chart entering the Raiders/Buccaneers game, Taiwan Jones has a ton of untapped potential.
Like seemingly every other Oakland running back, Jones has battled minor injuries all season. However, he is a shifty and versatile back that has the capability of contributing to the Raiders offense.
Marcel Reece saw the bulk of the workload once McFadden and Goodson went down, but he is a better pass protector and Oakland was desperately trying to catch up late in the game.
A possible "thunder and lightning" type situation could develop out of necessity between the two, and while it is not an ideal situation, both have an opportunity to prove their worth.
Reece started doing just that against Tampa Bay...
FB Marcel Reece
Marcel Reece goes largely unnoticed in the Raiders backfield, but he is one of the best blockers in the NFL.
Against the Buccaneers, he showcased other dimensions of his game, namely his ability to catch passes out of the backfield: Reece had eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
That brings his season totals up to 22 catches for 235 yards and the score. Oakland will need him to continue finding gaps in the defense and leaking out of the backfield at a high rate.
If and when he is called upon to run the football, he must be ready to play without the element of surprise as teams will pay added attention to him after his Week9 performance.
QB Carson Palmer
Carson Palmer had a fantastic statistical performance against the Buccaneers as he completed 39-of-61 passes for 414 yards,four TDs and three interceptions.
Much of that yardage came late in the game as the Raiders attempted a valiant comeback. However, it may be fair to assume that Palmer's pass attempts will increase without McFadden in the lineup.
Maybe not 61 of them every week, but Palmer must limit his turnovers and make smart, accurate throws. Increased pass attempts can mean shorter offensive possessions and less rest for the defense.
Palmer can counteract that by avoiding interceptions and making good decisions, but ultimately he will also need balance from the stable of backup RBs.