Darren McFadden appears to be on a mission this year and going into the Oakland Raiders' week 3 match up versus the Arizona Cardinals, he has a chance to really break out.
He has come out with a chip on his shoulder this season after hearing the "bust" whispers. McFadden looks to have really done all the work that Raider Head Coach Tom Cable spoke of and it's paying off.
He's second in the league in rushing and coming off of a 145 yard game against the Rams last week. McFadden could very well have the first 200-yard game of his career against the Cardinals.
Turn the page to see why.
McFadden is doing things that I haven't seen him do since he's been in the league.
He's cutting and making people miss.
He's finally added something to his game to go with his 4.27 wheels. He no doubt had to start making people miss because his career would be real short otherwise.
It also makes him a bigger home-run threat.
No longer is McFadden being brought down by one man's arm tackle. He is stepping out of and running through arm tackles now so more than one defender gets up from the pile when McFadden goes down.
Last year, McFadden may have been the easiest back in the league to bring down.
My, how things have changed.
Last year, McFadden got stood up and went nowhere one he was in heavy traffic. This year, He's pushing the pile forward and keeping his legs pumping.
Did you see the short yardage play he ran against the Rams?
They couldn't knock him off of his feet.
Darren McFadden is actually dragging tacklers.
That's a one to four yard difference in all of his carries.
The Rams are the Rams but McFadden took more yards than what was originally available against the Titans. Compare that to the one hit and he's down that we saw last year from McFadden.
There is a huge difference.
When there's nowhere to go, McFadden is exploding into people.
He's already knocked a few defensive backs out of the game for a while this year. He's not Adrian Peterson but he is running with increased violence this year.
Defensive backs be ware.
McFadden is healthy this year.
In each of his first two seasons, McFadden got hurt very early in the season. This year, he already has 48 carries in his first two games and McFadden isn't on the injury report.
I thought I'd never see the day that McFadden carried the ball 30 times in a football game. I'm even more amazed by the fact that he made it through that game without a scratch.
Any player is better when they're healthy.
Everything in the slides before this one is all because he's running lower.
In a previous article, I touched on how running lower was the answer to all his problems. (Darren McFadden: One Change Away From Superstardom)
A. Leverage to cut at full speed and make people miss.
B. Legs can absorb the shock of a hit and keep pumping.
C. Not as easy to get stood up.
D. Keeps defenders from attacking you're legs causing injury.
And look what's happening for him.
His vision hasn't improved but he's actually reading traffic and looking for a crease to get down hill. Before, he would pass by holes in the defense to bounce everything outside as he did in college.
He learned that everyone can run in the NFL so bouncing isn't always going to work. He is now doing a much better job of finding somewhere to go inside.
Now he's a running back that's fast instead of the other way around
McFadden's dreaded stiff arm is back!
I remember being so amazed when I first saw it while he was still at the University of Arkansas. He seemed to have forgotten that weapon and he finally started to use it effectively again.
Why not use those long arms.
A lot of stars are born as the result of another player getting hurt.
Michael Bush came into the season as sharing the load with McFadden. His fractured thumb in the preseason now prevents him from being able to carry his part of the load.
Therefore McFadden is carrying it for him.
Bush was unlimited in practice and is listed as a game time decision. But I don't see Bush being in enough shape to carry the ball too much on Sunday.
The Raiders will run the ball a lot so McFadden will get his carries.
Darren McFadden has been an inch away from breaking a big one in the first two games. I believe this will be the game that he takes one all the way to the house from anywhere.
When you consistently have close calls, they end up turning into house calls.
Who he's playing against may also have something to do with it.
Two games into the season, the Arizona Cardinals are ranked number 31 against the run allowing 153.3 yards per game. The Cardinals are coming off of a game that they allowed 221 yards rushing to the Falcons.
Jason "Who" Snelling had 129 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown rushing and receiving. Michael Turner ended up with nine carries for 75 yards on his day off.
This is also a game the Raiders should play from ahead and on offense for the majority of the game. The Cardinal offense is ranked 16 so far and 22 in first downs so they shouldn't stay on the field.
After facing two of the best backs in the league and improving, Cardinal runners shouldn't be a problem. Nnamdi Asomugha will be matched up on a gimpy Larry Fitzgerald so that won't help the Cardinals move the chains.
Quarterback Derek Anderson is turnover prone as well.
This should wear down the Cardinal defense.
The table is set McFadden to get things going.
I hope you enjoyed the slide show.