Falcons could have elixir for Raiders' running woes

October 11, 2012, 3:19 pm
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ALAMEDA -- Might this be the week the Raiders' run game, behind the new zone-blocking system, gets untracked?After all, Oakland is coming off a bye week in which the coaching staff had extra time to tweak things, anyone dressed in Silver and Black swears they are this close to a breakthrough with the ZBS. Perhaps most importantly, their Week 6 opponent has been leaky against the run.Atlanta has only the 27th-ranked run defense in the NFL, surrendering 142.8 yards per game on the ground, 5.4 yards per attempt."Well, theyre an extremely fast defense; theyre not an overly big defense," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen. "They run hard to the ball. So, every now and then, they might over-pursue a little bit. But they play the pass extremely well and they play a lot of split-safety defense to try to eliminate the balls being thrown down the field. So, people are trying to attack them in the running game when they play all that split-safety defense."Allen acknowledged that the Raiders have "tweaked" the running attack."Well, you cant throw everything out and just start over in the middle of the year," he said. "So, yeah, theres been a few tweaks, a few emphasis points, but nothing like a drastic change, other than we've got to execute better."Seen any progress, then?"I have, I have," Allen said. "And well see what it looks like when we go out and play on Sunday."And even if they still run into problems, they figure to keep running it.In fact, quarterback Carson Palmer wants to hand the ball off to Darren McFadden even more, despite the Raiders having the worst rushing attack in the league at 60.8 yards per game.RELATED: NFL team statistics
"I know a lot of people outside of this facility are discouraged in our run game," Palmer said. "We're going to continue to work at it. We're not going to give up. We're not going to stop running the football. If anything, we're going to run the football more."That puts the ball in our best player's hand. We're not discouraged. We're going to keep doing it."McFadden, who is averaging a mere 3.5 yards per carry, simply smiled."I'm always up for that," he said. "You want to put it in my hands more, I'm loving it. It's something a running back likes -- the more carries, the better the chances are of getting big runs."