ALAMEDA -- Through two games last season, in the Raiders' power-blocking scheme, Darren McFadden had racked up 222 rushing yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry.Through two games this year, in the Raiders' newreintroduced zone-blocking scheme, McFadden has rushed for a total of 54 yards, an average of 2.1 yards per carry.Frustrated much?"Its a game," McFadden said Wednesday, "you cant get frustrated. If you get frustrated, you only get down on yourself, so you have to just go out there, and keep grinding, keep pushing forward."It was painfully obvious throughout the Raiders' 35-13 loss at Miami on Sunday in which he had only 22 yards on 11 carries, that McFadden was not comfortable, though he said after the game he was fine in the scheme. And really, what would you expect him to say?"Darren doesnt get frustrated," said quarterback Carson Palmer. "Darren is such a glass-is-half-full, upbeat guy, just a happy, happy guy. Hes generally just bouncing around with a smile on his face, whether he had 50 yards or 180 yards in a game. Youre going to get the same guy. Hes going to continue to work."He had a great practice today. He looked really good. He was definitely under the weather last week with some issues, but hes feeling better, hes recovered. Im excited to give him the ball this week and see what he does."McFadden has not done much in two previous meetings against Pittsburgh, going for a combined 39 yards on 19 carries.So why should anyone expect his output to change this weekend?"I just feel like going with the zone system is one of those situations where youre going to have to keep hitting it until you get going," he said. "Its going to be one yard here or two yards there, but eventually its going to start popping."And when it does, his trademark big run is around the corner, right?"Yeah, Im looking forward to it," he said. "I always like getting the weight off your shoulder once you get that big run out."Still, he has to know that his decrease in productivity has many fantasy owners ringing their hands. Not that he's losing much, if any, sleep over it."I dont too much care for fantasy football," McFadden said. "I play real football."
PHOENIX – The Raiders hope to play the next three years in the Bay Area before moving to Las Vegas. They were approved to relocate on Monday at the NFL owners meetings, but can’t leave right away because Las Vegas doesn’t have a suitable temporary NFL venue.
The Raiders have team options on one-year leases to play at Oakland Coliseum during the 2017 and 2018 seasons, and are expected to do exactly that. Owner Mark Davis said he’s open to negotiating a lease to play the 2019 season there as well before moving into new Vegas digs in 2020.
The Oakland Coliseum authority may not grant that request.
"I would say to you with the highest level of confidence, my opinion and recommendation and that of my board members, I don’t believe there is any appetite for a third season (in Oakland),” director of the Oakland Coliseum joint powers authority Scott McKibben told USA Today.
McKibben said hosting a Raiders game is a financial loss for the JPA.
If the Raiders can’t reach an agreement to play at the Oakland Coliseum in 2019, they have other options in the Bay Area, though none is ideal. They could play at Cal’s Memorial Stadium or use Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara as a last resort in the Bay Area, sources told CSN California reporter Scott Bair.
They could renovate UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium – locker room and security upgrades are mandatory – though the Raiders would prefer to avoid that route.
PHOENIX – Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith has been banished from the NFL for over 16 months now as a repeat offender of the league’s substance abuse policy.
Commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t ruled on Smith’s reinstatement application and it’s hard to imagine movement coming soon on that front after a pair of recent run-ins with the law.
He was reportedly involved in a domestic incident and was questioned by San Francisco police last month. Then he was a passenger in a vehicle that hit an unmarked police car on March 10, an incident where the driver was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Smith seemed out of sorts when interviewed by media after emerging from a San Francisco police station.
Smith’s banishment states he can’t have contact with Raiders personnel outside the director of player engagement, a stipulation head coach Jack Del Rio has criticized in the past.
He did so again Tuesday at the NFL owners meetings, saying it’s unfortunate the organization can’t support Smith during difficult times.
“It’s a little bit frustrating to not be able to be a part of the process,” Del Rio said. “My feel is that I could help him, but the experts know. The experts don’t allow that. We have to follow the rules.
“It does get frustrating to not be able to help a young man and provide support and provide structure. Somebody else has to make those decisions. It’s just out of my hands.”
The Raiders can’t petition for greater involvement, and are therefore in a wait-and-see mode regarding their troubled, yet talented player.
“He has to get himself together,” general manager Reggie McKenzie said. “(Smith’s status) is totally on the league office. They know more than what we know.”