Sans a preseason carry, Raiders' McFadden ready

Sans a preseason carry, Raiders' McFadden ready

Paul Gutierrez
CSNCalifornia.comALAMEDA -- For the first time in his four-year NFL career, Raiders running back Darren McFadden is entering a regular season without any carries in the preseason.Not that he's worried about it heading to Denver for the late Monday Night Football opener much, mind you."It will just feel like college days," said the two-time Heisman Trophy runner-up at Arkansas. "You didn't get any preseason games in college days. I just feel like when you go out there, either you're going to be able to do it or you're not going to be able to do it."I feel like I had some great openers, so (I'm) looking forward to it."As a freshman, McFadden ran for 70 yards and a touchdown on nine carries against Missouri State to open the 2005 season.
In 2006, he was limited to 42 yards on nine carries by USC while catching two passes and losing six yards.But in 2007, McFadden rumbled for 151 yards and a TD on 24 carries against Troy. He also caught two passes for 40 yards and threw a 42-yard touchdown pass.Of course, McFadden was shelved by the fractured lower left eye orbital he incurred in a blitz pickup drill with Quentin Groves on Aug. 3. And he wants to wear a tinted eyeshield on his helmet but shields with tint have to be prescribed by a physician and McFadden has yet to appeal to the NFL.RELATED: McFadden slowed in quest for eye shield
"It's one of those deals where you're anxious to get out there," he said of opening the season. "At the same time, you want to be cautious. You don't want to go out there and rush it too fast."I just want to carry over what I did last year. Go out there and run the ball and put my team in the best position I can to win the game."In the Raiders' record-setting 59-14 demolition of the Broncos in Denver, McFadden ran for a career-high 165 yards, on 16 carries, and scored four touchdowns, three rushing and one receiving."You can't live on what you (did) last year," he said. "It's a new season. New faces out there, new guys ready to play ball. You just have to go out there with your 'A' game."Especially on the Monday Night Football stage. The Raiders have lost 11 straight primetime games and eight consecutive season openers."You know everybody will be watching," McFadden said, "but you want to go out and approach it like you approach any other game."Maybe even like a college opener.

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

Raiders OC Todd Downing: New weapons will 'make me look good'

STANFORD – Todd Downing has long been responsible for intently analyzing college quarterbacks entering the NFL Draft. He certainly did so during two seasons as Raiders quarterbacks coach, adding input to personnel department evaluations on young signal callers.

This offseason, he’s using a wide-angle lens. Downing is the Raiders offensive coordinator now, promoted to the position after Bill Musgrave was allowed to leave on an expired contract.

Coaches enter the draft evaluation process relatively late – they have a season to coach, after all – but Downing prides himself on working hard in evaluating talent. Working with general manager Reggie McKenzie’s staff, coaches feel like their voice is being heard.

That’s important to a coordinator especially, who must make a scheme work with talent around him.

“Reggie and his staff have always done a tremendous job of listening to our vision for the offense or the defense,” Downing said Thursday at Stanford’s pro day. “It’s been a joy to work with those guys over the past three years.

“(Head coach Jack Del Rio) really expects us to be accountable for our position group. Now that I’m the coordinator, there’s more of a broad scope when looking at offensive talent in the draft. When you work that hard (evaluating players), I think the scouts know that your opinion is well grounded, and that validates it a little bit.”

Downing is always on the lookout for weapons, especially while making tweaks to the Raiders offense. The Silver and Black found a few, adding tight end Jared Cook, receiver Cordarrelle Patterson, offensive lineman Marshal Newhouse and quarterback EJ Manuel.

Quarterback Derek Carr helped him get some. The full-time East Bay resident has been active recruiting free agents, trying to improve an already strong Raiders offense.

“You guys know how passionate he is about this game, and about this team and backing up this franchise,” Downing said. “(His involvement in recruiting) didn’t surprise any of us. He’s pretty hands on when it comes to football. He lives in the area, so he hopped in when we needed it and it paid off.”

Cook and Patterson especially could add dimensions to a well-rounded Raiders attack. Cook has made some big plays in the past, and should be a reliable receiving tight end the Raiders have lacked in recent seasons.

“He has a skill set that will be fun to play with (schematically),” Downing said. “We’re excited to see what he can do, and I know Derek is excited to add him. He has a history of making plays in this league, and that’s something we’re excited to have.”

Patterson’s primarily known as a kick returner – he’s a two-time All Pro on special teams – but the Raiders hope he’ll be active on offense.

“With guys like that, you just find a way to get them the rock and let them do the rest of the work,” Downing said. “They make me look good. I can call a simple play and he takes it the distance and it looks like I designed something special.”

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

Week after signing with Vikings, ex-Raiders RB Murray undergoes surgery

A week after signing a deal with the Vikings, former Raiders running back Latavius Murray has undergone ankle surgery.

The Vikings made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.

Minnesota issued the following statement regarding the surgery:

"Vikings RB Latavius Murray had successful ankle surgery today. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bob Anderson in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were aware of the required surgery prior to signing Latavius on March 16. Latavius is expected to fully recover and be available for training camp."

Murray's deal with the Vikings is reported worth $15 million over three years, but can reportedly be voied after the first year.

Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Murray became the Raiders' primary running back midway through the 2015 season. In his three years in Oakland, Murray carried the ball 543 times for 2,278 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015.