ALAMEDA -- What had been a cause for concern all summer when it came to Darren McFadden has come to fruition.And it has nothing to do with injuries.But while McFadden has more than struggled behind the Raiders' new zone-blocking scheme this season, rookie coach Dennis Allen insists he looks on tape like the same player he was last year."Yeah, he does," Allen said. "He's still an explosive player. We've got to do a better job of creating some room for him to run. We've incorporated a few more of those gap scheme-type plays and again, you can say this on every play, but we're one block here or one block there away from a big run."In six games, McFadden has rushed for 324 yards, on 103 carries. Take away his 64-yard touchdown run against Pittsburgh and his average of 3.1-yards per carry falls to a paltry 2.6 yards-per-carry average.Through six games a year ago, and behind Oakland's power-blocking scheme, McFadden was leading the NFL in rushing with 610 yards on 111 carries, a 5.5 yards-per-carry average.It was the seventh game last year in which McFadden suffered his season-ending Lis Franc injury, against Kansas City.He insists he is not frustrated, despite the noticeable downtick in production running the ball. McFadden finished with 53 yards on 19 carries against the Jaguars, after having just 10 yards on eight carries in the first half."Just have to stay focused at the task at hand," he said Monday. "Keep pushing. It's one of those things you can't get down on yourself, can't get down on the offense. Just keep playing ball and eventually it's going to happen."Allen concurred."Go back and look at the Pittsburgh game and that was his best rushing output of the (season) and he had an explosive run," Allen said, referring to the 64-yarder. "That's how you get those big games. You have one or two explosive runs in a game and all of a sudden you look up and here's a guy with a hundred-and-something yards rushing."So that's what we've got to continue to do. We've got to continue to work in the running game and I feel that if we continue to hand the ball off to him, those big runs are going to come."Many fans held their breath and wondered why, just after McFadden landed on his already-sore shoulder against Jacksonville, McFadden retreated to the tunnel area leading to the locker rooms."I just went behind the bleachers real quick to use the bathroom," McFadden said with a laugh.Just as many, though, would just as soon flush the Raiders' current offensive scheme down the toilet with, they say, McFadden not being utilized to his talents.Allen admitted the Raiders' run game still has a ways to go when asked if he was "surprised" it has not gotten going yet."Well, I dont know if 'surprised' is the word," Allen said. "Im disappointed that its not doing better. Again, were going to continue to work, continue to see what we can do better, both as a coaching staff and how can we execute better to give our guys a chance to be successful."I dont think theres any doubt that we want, and need, to run the ball better than we have."
Is McFadden the same back he was a year ago?
October 22, 2012, 10:15 pm