Can Goodson carry load as a backup RB?


Can Goodson carry load as a backup RB?

NAPA -- Officially, he's listed as the third running back on the Raiders' depth chart.Realistically, Mike Goodson got the lion's share of the carries in Monday's practice, and while he was not run ragged, he was run, well, a lot. Not that he's complaining, mind you.RELATED: Raiders release first training camp depth chart
Because with Darren McFadden's injury history and Taiwan Jones nursing a sore hamstring and sitting out practice Monday, Goodson realizes the spotlight could very well fall on him. Even as a sore hamstring kept him from finishing a practice last week."Yeah, it just kind of got tight on me but ever since we worked it, got in the cold tub, stretched it out, been pretty good," he said recently. "I've just been enjoying it, man, working with the guys. Everybody's working hard, trying to become a great team."The Raiders offense revolves around McFadden and while Jones and Goodson seemingly have similar games, they are diverse enough to present matchup issues."They just bring different things to the table," said fullback Marcel Reece. "Mike is very quick, very elusive. He brings more experience to the table and he's just another hard-nosed guy that we have in our room and I think we're all pretty much made up like that and just grind it out.RELATED: Mike Goodson career stats 2011 game logs News
"We expect anybody that's coming here is going to be fast, going to be quick, going to be a smart guy, going to be able to do pretty much everything. Catch the ball, catch the ball out of the backfield, catch the ball split out wide. He can do anything. We pretty much expected it and he fit right in with the group."Goodson was acquired in a March 30 trade with Carolina for offensive lineman Bruce Campbell.Two years ago, with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart injured, Goodson caught 40 passes for 310 yards and rushed for 452 yards and three TDs on 103 carries. A hamstring injury and illness last season, though, limited him to four games.All of which is why he welcomed the trade to Oakland."I just like the whole thing of just being a Raiderthe mystique of being a Raider," Goodson said. "I like the offense. (Coordinator Greg) Knapp's got us running, man, the one-cut-and-go, man, I love it. As a guy with speed, you can make cuts and just get up the field and run."He's shown flashes in team drills, bursting up the left sideline for a sizable gain with the help of a crushing block from fullback Manase Tonga this past weekend.And the way Goodson sees it, the offense does not change much when he's in the backfield rather than McFadden, or Jones."You just kind of make it work to your skill set," Goodson said."I think we're all kind of unique. I like to catch the ball out of the backfield a lot. I think Darren, man, he's just an athlete. He can catch the ball, he can run between the tackles, he can do it all. I think everybody brings their own unique thing to the game."And Jones, what does he bring?"Lightning speed," Goodson said with a smile. "He is fast. You see him run, it's like, shoo, shoo, shooF-A-S-T."Of course, Goodson has own brand of speed. One he cannot wait to unleash Monday in the Raiders' preseason opener against Dallas."Yeah," he smiled, "get out here in this black and silver and just run."

LB Smith praises Raiders' turnover ratio, but wants much more

LB Smith praises Raiders' turnover ratio, but wants much more

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Raiders defense gave up 344 yards Sunday while beating the Jacksonville Jaguars.

That sum’s a season low, still way too many for Malcolm Smith. The Raiders weakside linebacker has higher standards, even after one of two solid defensive efforts in seven games.

“That’s still a lot of yards,” Smith said. “We’re not where we want to be.”

Just because Sunday was better doesn’t mean it’s good enough. The Raiders defense ranks last in yards allowed and 22nd in scoring defense at 25.6 points per game.

There’s a main reason why the Raiders aren’t dead last in both categories. Takeaways.

The Raiders have plundered the opposition this season 13 times in seven games. Special teams got one Sunday on a muffed punt, but the defense has been incredibly active stealing possession.

Reggie Nelson has a nose for the ball, with two interceptions and two fumble recoveries. Sean Smith and David Amerson have two picks each and Bruce Irvin leads the league with four forced fumbles.

Turnovers make all those yards allowed easy to stomach, and has kept the Raiders in several close games. The force big mistakes and don’t make many, proven with a plus-eight turnover ratio ranked No. 3 overall.

“It’s given us a chance to win some games, where you could just look at other statistics and say we wouldn’t have a chance.” Smith said. “That’s what the game is about, and us finding ways to compete. Hopefully we stay after it that way.”

The Raiders have stayed after it in the red zone, allowing touchdowns on just 50 percent of opponent trips inside their 20-yard line.

While big plays have brought wins and positivity to the defense, the season’s first half has been difficult for Raiders expecting more.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” Smith said. “You come into the year with all these aspirations and things you want to do. When it doesn’t go your way you have to stay after it, keep putting the work in and know it’s not going to be wasted. Hopefully we’re making strides and those improvements will show on Sundays.”

The Raiders believe the defense is close to being good, and has done a solid job masking issues with takeaways and timely production.

“Our team has done a great job of competing to win games,” Smith said. “If we keep doing that, everything will be fine.”

Del Rio pleased with Raiders' mature attitude towards 5-2 start

Del Rio pleased with Raiders' mature attitude towards 5-2 start

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Raiders were certainly happy they beat the Jacksonville Jaguars into submission. They jumped out to a strong halftime lead, played smart complimentary football and, at 33-16, ended up with a large margin of victory.

All, however, was not right with the world.

Derek Carr lamented settling for too many field goals. Latavius Murray wanted more efficiency from his runs. Defensive players saw progress in several deficient areas, still seeking greater cohesion and consistency.

[BAIR: Top 5 takeaways from Raiders' 33-16 win over Jaguars]

Sunday’s big victory over lowly Jacksonville was not a sign they've arrived. It was proof these Raiders remain a work in progress.

Records normally suffer with much to correct. These Raiders are 5-2, and feel better football’s ahead.

“That’s what is great about this team is that we haven’t played our best yet,” Murray said. “That’s a good feeling moving forward, knowing there are things you can get better at and you’re still 5-2.”

Winning while fixing things; that’s a coach’s dream. It’s also easier when players know it, that egos don’t expand and confidence doesn’t become arrogance.

“I like that part. I like the fact that we recognize it,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I’m certainly going to point it out. There are things that we have to do better. I think it’s healthy.

“You should enjoy the wins. You should feel good about the success. Take pride in it. We worked hard for it, but to have a healthy respect for what’s coming and the need to play better and the need to continue to grow as a football team as we go throughout the year. That’s a mature way to look at it, and I’m very pleased about that with a younger team.”

The Raiders are a confident bunch and have survived several games on guts, guile and turnovers -- a recipe for success with inconsistent production.

The Raiders defense believes it made strides in the Jaguars win, though there’s significant work remaining to be a decent defense. With the offense rolling, that’s all the Raiders need to be a top team. Defenders aren’t striving for decent. They want more, and believe that realizing potential could put them in position for a playoff push.

“This team has so much talent, with good coaches and good players,” cornerback David Amerson said. “The sky’s the limit. Once we all start clicking, we can go out there and beat teams 30-0. Once we get to that point, that’s when we can look towards the playoffs and things like that. We have just as much talent as any team in the league.”