Oakland Raider Training Camp Focus: The Tailbacks

Carl CockerhamSenior Analyst IAugust 8, 2010

Oakland Raider Training Camp Focus: The Tailbacks

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    The Raider backfield is less crowded after the dismissal of Justin Fargas. Hue Jackson is bringing in the power-running game to Raider Nation as well. 

    There is now a plethora of power and speed in the Oakland Raider backfield.

    Turn the page to check the progress of the tailbacks in Raider Nation.

#1 Darren McFadden

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    Darren McFadden can fly!

    He's actually one of the Raider's relay sprinters from the back field position. However, his problems are injuries, breaking tackles, and making guys miss.

    Tom Cable has time and again told reporters that McFadden has worked hard on such things. 2010 training camp reveals that he definitely has.

    He has been running inside a lot in camp and has shown the one adjustment he needed to make so far. All he needed to do is run lower to get better results.

    When you run lower, you can change directions much faster. You can keep your legs from being hit and keep your legs driving. That very thing also keeps you off of all of the injured list.

    There are two reasons he hadn't made such an adjustment before. One, he is a track man and running at top speed requires you to run up tall. That is a habit that he never broke between track season and football season.

    Two, McFadden came out early and many of those players come out with fundamental flaws. He was doing his thing in college so he was probably never told about his flaw before entering the NFL.

    I really hope that the 2008 first round pick gets it now. If he does, he will give himself a chance to do what first round picks do.

#1A Michael Bush

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    Michael Bush is a big back with nimble feet and good vision. He used those attributes to average 4.8 yards per carry despite a porous offensive line.

    Bush is a great tackle breaker as well. However, there is one more thing he must do to complete the Raider running game.

    He needs to use that 245 pound frame and put it on opposing defenders. Running over a defender here and there sets the tone for the Raider's smash-mouth running game being brought in by offensive coordinator Hue Jackson.

    Jackson said during a practice, " We wanna tell the defense and everyone in the stadium where we're running the ball and they still can't stop it!"

    Bush will be a big part of that approach.

#2 Michael Bennett

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    Michael Bennett is another member of the Raider relay team. This guy ran a 4.28 with a hamstring strain in the combine and healed up to run a 4.13 in his pro-day. 

    This was back in 2001, but Bennett still has those wheels. I'll go out on a limb and say that's why Davis brought him in.

    A spare speed back is a good thing to have in case McFadden goes down. We all know that is fully within the realm of possibility.

    The veteran is a former Pro Bowler so he will fill in nicely if needed.

Emergency Rock Cartwright

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    Rock Cartwright is listed as a fullback but has enough wiggle and explosion to play tailback. He is an awesome option to go to as a power-back should Bush go down.

    His ability to play fullback and tailback will keep him on the team.


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    This is a deep group that can block and catch passes out of the backfield. There is plenty of thunder and lightning to go around as well.

    Injury should not stop production from coming from this position unless everyone gets injured at the same time.

    Many in Raider Nation believe that Bush should be the starter at tailback for the Raiders. Most of this is based on the way he and McFadden performed last year.

    My opinion is that it really doesn't matter. There will be plenty of room for both of them to have breakout years.

    Justin Fargas is now gone so that's 129 carries to divide up from last year. Jason Campbell's presence in Raider Nation will lead to more first downs  and that will lead to additional of carries as well.

    You can use Bush to batter the defense and wear them down. Then you can bring in McFadden to break away on a tired defense.  This is what many in Raider nation believe is the formula.

    You could also wear down the defense by making them chase McFadden. . Then you could Bush in to pound the winded defense into submission.

    My suggestion is to use them both throughout the game to wear them down. Get them both 12-15 carries and ride the hot hand from there.

    I hope you enjoyed the slideshow.

    Thank you.

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