Darren McFadden Key to Oakland's Offensive Success

Jason CriggerContributor IAugust 11, 2009

NAPA, CA - AUGUST 05:  Darren McFadden #20 runs with the ball during the Oakland Raiders Training Camp at the Napa Valley Marriott on August 5, 2009 in Napa, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

Just when Darren McFadden's rookie season was about to take off, it came crashing down in a week two game against division foe Kansas City.

McFadden was in the middle of a 50-yard run when he was chased down by Chiefs safety Bernard Pollard, the same Pollard who injured some guy named Tom Brady in New England a week earlier.

Run-DMC would score his first NFL touchdown a few plays later on his way to racking up 164 yards on just 21 carries.

Unfortunately for Raider Nation, that was the last time McFadden would be healthy during the 2008 season.

While being chased down by Pollard, McFadden sustained a turf toe injury that prevented him from using the breakaway speed and cutting ability that made him the fourth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft.

Even though it was only a small sample size, McFadden had better numbers through two games than 2007 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Adrian Peterson.

McFadden would go on to rush for 499 yards with four scores in 13 games, but it was obvious the Raiders were putting their new toy on the shelf until the 2009 season.

Time heals all wounds and all reports are that McFadden is back to 100 percent, which has Raiders head coach Tom Cable excited about what McFadden brings to the table.

"When you look at us when we used him many ways, not just as a runner, but many ways, we were much, much better offensively," Cable told the San Jose Mercury News.

Part of McFadden's offensive intrigue comes from the various ways he can be utilized within the offense. You can expect him to take handoffs from quarterback JaMarcus Russell most of the time, but don't be surprised when the Raiders line him up as a receiver or even have him taking snaps in the trendy Wildcat offense.

He has the potential to be Reggie Bush, Peterson, and Ronnie Brown all rolled into one.

Much like Bush, McFadden will never be the kind of back to pound a defense 25 to 30 times on the ground, which is fine, because the team has running backs Justin Fargas and Michael Bush to wear down opposing defenses late in the game.

If the Raiders can find a way to get McFadden 20 to 25 touches a game, it will help the Raiders improve on last year's 29th-ranked offense.


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