A method to this McFadden Madness?

September 11, 2012, 7:32 am
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OAKLAND -- Any questions about Darren McFadden's health were answered Monday night.More questions, though, about the sanity of returning Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's use of the injury-prone McFadden are sure to surface in the wake of Oakland's 22-14 loss to San Diego in both team's season opener.REWIND: Instant replay -- Chargers 22, Raiders 14
Consider: McFadden had 28 touches, including a franchise-record-for-a-running-back 13 receptions, for 86 yards. He also carried the ball 15 times for 32 yards. He was also targeted five other times, meaning he was involved in 33 of the Raiders' 64 offensive plays."We just go with the offense," McFadden said. "However the offense is called, that's how we roll. You never know what to expect when you're going into a football game -- whether you're going to get it this many times or however -- you just roll with the flow of the game."The only other time McFadden had more touches in an NFL game was on Sept. 19, 2010, when he had 30 rushes for 145 yards and two catches for eight yards.So in case you were wondering what the Raiders offense would look like sans playmakers Denarius Moore and Jacoby Ford, and with quarterback Carson Palmer losing trust, at least for a moment, in Rod Streater, this was it.Not particularly imaginative. But it was somewhat effective, in moving the chains, even if it again stalled in the red zone.With eight receptions in the first half, McFadden had already set a personal record for catches in a game. And by the time he was finished, the only other Raiders player with more catches in a game was Tim Brown, who caught 14 balls against Jacksonville in 1997.And before you get all huffy about quarterback Carson Palmer being Captain Checkdown, ala Jason Campbell, there was a method to all of this McFadden madness."They were staying in base defense and we liked our matchups with our running backs underneath," Palmer said. "And also, we have beaten them in the past over the top and they were just getting a ton of depth. They were not going to give up big plays."Their corners pressed the line of scrimmage a lot and (were) just turning and running for the hillsand (with) the linebackers underneath, the safeties stayed pretty deep and gave us some underneath throws and Darren did a great job when he had the ball."McFadden has missed at least three games in each of his first three games due to injury, and missed the final nine games last season with a Lis Franc sprain of his right foot.But as coach Dennis Allen said in the preseason, McFadden is the Raiders' bell cow."He's an explosive playmaker for us, so we're going to use it," Allen said. "But we'll go back and we'll look at the tape and we'll see if there are some things where maybe we can utilize some other people. It's football, we're going to use him."As long as it works, and he stays healthy.

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