Darren McFadden's 2010 statistics:
Rushing: 223 carries for 1,157 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Receiving: 47 catches for 507 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Those are the numbers that the Oakland Raiders were expecting from McFadden when they selected the Arkansas product fourth overall in the 2008 NFL Draft.
McFadden finally lived up to the hype. Everyone knew all along that "Run DMC" had the talent. People just needed to see it.
Now the question is whether McFadden can do it again. Listed below are five reasons he will and five reasons he won't duplicate the success of 2010.
Five Reasons McFadden Will Duplicate the Success of 2010:
1. McFadden is a complete back
McFadden used his unique skills to show he is a dual-threat back. He finished 12th in rushing yards. His 507 yards and 47 catches ranked sixth and tenth, respectively, among running backs. His numbers would have been even better if he hadn't missed three games to injury.
2. McFadden is a home-run threat every time he touches the ball
McFadden has the size (6'2", 210 pounds) to run through tackles and the speed (sub 4.4 40-yard dash) to outrun defenders. This makes him a threat to rack up big chunks of yardage when he gets the ball. McFadden averaged 5.2 yards per rush. The only other back with 200+ carries that had a higher average? Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles. McFadden led the NFL with 14 carries of 20 or more yards. He was also second in the league with 4 carries of 40 or more yards. Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy had 5.
3. McFadden is the focal point of the offense
McFadden is without a doubt Oakland's best offensive weapon. This will ensure that the coaching staff makes every effort to get the ball in McFadden's hands. Whether it is a run, a screen pass or lining McFadden out wide, the Raiders know the more McFadden touches the ball, the better the offense will be.
4. Offensive coaching
A lot of times when a team makes a coaching change, there is turnover on the staff. This isn't true with Oakland's offense since they promoted former offensive coordinator Hue Jackson to head coach. Jackson called the plays last season and will continue to call plays this season. The Raiders also hired Al Saunders to be the offensive coordinator. Saunders worked with quarterback Jason Campbell when the two were with the Washington Redskins. This will give Campbell familiarity with both Jackson and Saunders and make the passing game more of a threat. Improvement in the passing game will improve McFadden's receiving numbers and give him bigger holes to run through.
5. Michael Bush
If Michael Bush is back with the Raiders, he will provide relief in the backfield for McFadden. Bush is the power back of the two and will help reduce wear and tear on McFadden as the season progresses. McFadden's first two seasons were plagued by injuries and he also missed three games last season due to injury.
Five Reasons McFadden Will Not Duplicate the Success of 2010:
1. Questions on the on the offensive line
Right now, there are questions as to who will be starting on the offensive line Week 1. There's a chance the Raiders could have two rookies (Stefen Wisniewski and Joseph Barksdale) and a second-year player (Bruce Campbell) starting in the season opener. No matter the combination, it'll take a while for the line to gel.
2. Defenses will key on McFadden
Every week, defenses will key on McFadden. No matter the sport, teams try not to let the opposing team's best player beat them. For defenses facing the Raiders, this will clearly be McFadden. This won't be anything new for McFadden, but it's still something that he and the rest of the offense will have to deal with week to week.
3. Passing game
Last season the Raiders were second in rushing with 155.9 yards per game but only 23rd in passing at 198.8 yards per game. The passing game needs to improve. Jason Campbell and the wide receivers need to play more consistent. If the Raiders can get into the top half of the league in passing, it will help create bigger holes for McFadden. If the passing game doesn't improve, McFadden can expect to see plenty of eight and nine man fronts.
McFadden will see some tough defenses this season. The Raiders will have 10 games against defenses that finished in the top half of the league in rush defense. Another opponent, the Green Bay Packers, finished 18th and that was with five key contributors on defense landing on injured-reserve.
McFadden has had injury problems in the past. He was hampered in his first two seasons with numerous injuries. Last season he missed three games with hamstring and toe injuries. McFadden must stay healthy. It's pretty simple. He can't produce if he isn't on the field.