IAccording to an article on SI.com by John Mullin, the Oakland Raiders are ranked 28th when it comes to our backfield. Here's the article http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/football/nfl/05/22/backfields/3.html
This just shows that there's Raider hate spewing from everyone. Certain networks, writers, bloggers and everyone else who doesn't follow this team.
The Raiders ranked 10th in Running Offense in 2008. They averaged 4.3 yards/carry along with 124 yards/game.
In 2007, the Raiders ranked 6th in Running Offense. They averaged 4.1yards/carry along with 130 yards/game.
JaMarcus Russell improved the last six games of the year leading the Raiders to a 3-3 record. He didn't throw as much due to the lack of weapons and success of the running game. He'll improve this upcoming year with the additions of Darrius Heyward-Bey and Louis Murphy at WR. That along with Zach Miller, Chaz Schilens and Johnnie Lee Higgins having some more experience under their belt.
Even if the Raiders suffered an injury at the QB position they have Jeff Garcia to step in. That's a former Pro-Bowler who managed various teams to victories over the past few years.
They removed Kwame Harris who'd put us in 1st and 15 way too often. Mario Henderson/Khalif Barnes will replace him. Henderson showed he can hold his own late last year when he got his opportunity.
Khalif Barnes helped the Jaguars to the 3rd best running game in 2006 with 158 yards/game and the 2nd best running game in 2007 with 149 yards/game.
Samson Satele is a durable and versatile 24 year old center that hasn't missed a start in his 2 years as a pro. He was able to be a battery ram against 3-4 defenses in the AFC East during his tenure with the Dolphins. That's an improvement from often injured Jake Grove who left for Miami.
Look at the Raiders backfield. We'll start with Darren McFadden. He was hampered all year with a turf-toe injury that held him back. Besides that long run in KC to start the year he didn't have any huge runs. That's why people should be impressed with his 4.4 yards/carry. He only gathered 499 yards with a long run of 50 yards. Wait until he's healthy and taking a handful of those 4-5 yard gains to the house.
The human crash test dummy, Justin Fargas. He was able to get 853 yards last year averaging 3.9 yards/carry. He lost a step last year and it showed. He'd slam into the guards for minimal gains way too often. The effort won't every be questioned but the lack of being able to hit the hole for big gains is something he's lacked.
Michael Bush, our soon to be red-zone back. He was able to squeeze 454 yards last year with very little action. He was asked to play FB but denied the request. When he got his carries he showed that he can get the 3-4 yards needed to move the chains along with the occasional big run. He managed a 4.4 yards/carry.
I'll concentrate on the RB's then touch on the QB's abit. This writer from SI.com felt that the following combinations are better....
#8 Ryan Grant - Green Bay Packers
#13 Tim Hightower - Beenie Wells (rookie) Arizona Cardinals
#19 Stephan Jackson (missed 4 games in 07 & 08) St. Louis Rams
#21 Derrick Ward - Earnest Graham Tampa Bay Bucs
#22 Larry Johnson (often injured) - Jamaal Charles Kansas City Chiefs
#23 Cedric Benson - Cincinnati Bengals
#24 Knowshown Moreno (rookie) - Lamont Jordan Denver Broncos
Once those backfields suffer A injury to their 'stud' they'll be screwed. Will a old Mark Bulger be able to do sometthing without S. Jackson? Without Gore the Niners can't rely on Shaun Hill to move the chains. The Bucs have three different guys battling for the QB position, how's that going to help them with Derrick Ward? Matt Cassell without L. Johnson will fail horribly, he doesn't have Moss/Welker to save him. Can Carson Palmer stay healthy? If he does, Cedric Benson won't be able to carry that team. Lastly, the Bronco's, they have a new coach, new two new RB's with Kyle Orton/Chris Simms at QB and they're supposed to be better? Right.
If we lose one guy then we'd have two other guys ready to carry the load. That can't be said about others. Yet, this SI writer thinks the backfield of McFadden/Bush/Fargas is 28th best due to our young QB. Through all this, still no credit... Hate away haters....
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