In the offseason, the Raiders and head coach Tom Cable had make the assumption that Darren McFadden and Michael Bush would be sharing running back duties, to whichever ability would serve the team better.
Do the Raiders need a hard push? Drop Michael Bush into the game and let him punish the defense. Looking for a couple yards to get the first down? Have McFadden split the line, and if he breaks a tackle, you can pick up about 20 yards or more.
Now in training camp, Darren McFadden's preseason is becoming more and more of a question mark. A hamstring injury has limited his ability to play, with the team nervous to play him and risk further injury. Michael Bush has been good in camp, and some other names—like Michael Bennett and Rock Cartwright—have contributed in their respective areas.
The team does have other names to toss around, random, short-term solutions and, should the need arise, Justin Fargas is still waiting for a team to call.
So, how does this issue impact the Raiders?
For the Raiders, unless Darren McFadden becomes suddenly healthy, Michael Bush may be the lone back, with a rotation of players to assist him. It has been noted that Michael Bennett still shows some speed, while Rock Cartwright has a more punishing running game to bring. Marcel Reece brings some speed to the mix as well, so presently the Raiders do not have a glaring need.
It does become a question when the team faces other opponents, though. Some teams can solve the problem by stacking the box like the Dallas Cowboys can. In some cases, it may be easier to pass, rather than seeing the RB continue to get stuffed at the line. It also will illustrate that the Raiders need to either find a way to get McFadden back into the game, or he may become another expensive draft pick who doesn't pan out in Oakland.
The Raiders should learn a lot from the upcoming Dallas game. If the running game does well and can control the tempo for the Raiders, there shouldn't be any worry beyond if Darren McFadden will be back soon.
If the Raiders are held to less than 50 yards for the entire game in rushing, Tom Cable and company should start looking at McFadden and asking him how soon he can get ready.
The Raiders need a full team effort to win this year. We need McFadden to be healthy.