Everyone knows the Oakland Raiders have arguably the most dangerous trio of running backs at there disposal. But what is the best way to utilize the three effectively?
I am sure everyone has their own opinion on why their favorite back should see the bulk of the carries and whats the best way to shake, rattle and roll. If you don't know what I'm talking about check out this article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/198784-oakland-halfbacks-need-new-tag-part-ii
The consensus fan favorite to lead the Raider running attack is Darren McFadden. He brings flashy big play ability, acceleration and draft status. He is likely the most dangerous of the three; able to score anytime he touches the ball.
The fan runner up would be Michael Bush, for his power size and vision. He finally got his chance to start week 17 with both Fargas and Mcfadden out due to injury. He took over the game leading the Raiders to victory in a 180 yard performance.
Then there's Justin Fargas, the player fans tend to underestimate and throw under the bus. He is known for his reckless abandon, non-stop motor and 110 percent effort. He also came of the bench in 2006 to replace an injured Lamont Jordan to rush for over 1000 yards, leading the Raiders sixth ranked rushing attack.
So who's my favorite, and how do I think the Raiders backs should be used?
Well, my favorite is Michael Bush.
I don't mean to beat a dead horse but here's how I think they would be best used.
First of all, though many may not like it, Justin Fargas should be the starter. He should see the most carries.
Why, might you ask? The answer is simple.
First let me say one thing that bothers me is how quick some fans are to throw the guy under the bus. Did we all forget what he did coming off the bench when Jordan went down with an injury? Now a days 1000 yards is impressive especially if you don't start the whole season.
Some people are even calling for Louis Rankin to replace Justin Fargas, that is complete BS. Has Rankin ever done anything in the NFL? Has he ever rushed for 1000 yards? Has he ever rushed for 160+ yards against a division rival? Has he ever Rushed for 170+ yards against a thought to be playoff defense? I thought not, our other three backs have.
Justin Fargas is a veteran and a team leader who leaves it all on the field. Not only that, but he is a two time "Commitment to Excellence Award" winner. The team votes on the award and I'm willing to take the team's word for it that he deserves it. If Fargas wasn't the real deal his team-mates would not have voted him to win.
So if Fargas is the starter how should the other two be used?
First Darren McFadden: Though he is the most dangerous he should be used sparingly. As last year proved, he has durability issues. First it was injuring his toe in week two, then it was suffering a shoulder injury which required surgery. McFadden should be used as an occasional change of pace back spelling Fargas and as a receiver either in the slot or out of the backfield. He needs to be kept fresh throughout the game so that he is always a threat.
Now on to Michael Bush. It may seem like theres little left for him, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Bush should be used as a short yardage and goal-line back pounding it in for TDs and first downs. I will even go as far as to say we should treat Fargas and McFadden like the black running-back from Varsity Blues. Fargas and McFadden should not score without breaking 20 yards.
On top off that, Bush should be used as a closer. He should see the majority of the carries in the fourth quarter assuming the Raiders have the lead.
Honestly if the Raiders have the lead in the fourth, I don't want McFadden to even touch the ball. He's too valuable and seemingly fragile and, secondly, he has a fumbling problem.
In this scenario Fargas would be the "work horse," McFadden would be the "secret weapon," and Bush would be "the Hammer."
So is this the best way to use the three Raider backs?