If the 27 year old running back is going to ever turn his 6 year career around, then staying healthy is going to be the main thing for him to accomplish. Darren McFadden at times, has proven to be a very capable player when he’s healthy and on the field. Having games like 171 and 2 TDs and 165 and 3 TDs, he can show what he can do when getting it all together.
There was a time, quite awhile ago, when RB Darren McFadden pounded the field for 1,157 YDs and grabbed another 507 in the air, and all in just 13 games in the season. But, as seemingly always, his health continues to be a major concern. He has been knocked on at times, for his inability of elusiveness and little field vision. And he does lack some strength, when getting hit in the backfield, he struggles shaking off that first defender.
On the upside of things, his workload over the years has been light. With only 200+ carries only 2 times in his career, and in his 6 seasons, averaging less than 150/season. Workhorse, isn’t the first word that comes to mind for him.
But since then, he has never shown that flash of brilliance ever again, from 4 years ago. Let alone, play anymore than 13 games in a season. Truth be told, he has shown potential, and his upside has always been looked at, as a “what he could be” kind of guy, He has to 1st show that he can play a full season, and be productive during the season.
After suffering his foot injury back in 2011, it seems Darren McFadden has never regained the play-making ability he had shown when running for an average of 1500+ YDs/season at Arkansas. That was the RB the Raiders fans were hoping to see for a 10+ yr career.
In 2014, it’s coming down to this, Darren is either going in 1 of 2 directions, become the player they have anticipated, or he falls to the wayside. And so far it’s been just a nightmare, putting up just 3.4/YPC, with just 1 TD.
For a team like the Raiders, who seemingly haven’t had that RB1 since flash in the pan, Napoleon Kaufman back in the 90s. Being only 27 this season, McFadden is still young enough to get things going for the Raiders. Adding 29 year old Maurice Jones-Drew to the lineup has not sparked any fire under McFadden’s feet. Problem of course, is that MJD is no kid, and a poor avg of only 3.4 a carry in 2013, and this year, just slodding along with injuries and not able to get any space to attempt to run, I think the Raiders were hoping to have him reenergize himself as well as their feature back. The last 2 seasons McFadden has only been averaging 3.3 yards per carry, which is nothing to be proud of.
Is it possible that Darren McFadden and MJD can become a decent duo on the field. and bring back a deadened running game in Oakland? Or will they continue to fall flat on their faces, and prove it is time to move on and look for younger healthier players? I think it is pretty obvious what is happening in California with them both. The Raiders have worked on their O-line as well, and have some solid run blockers, in Stefen Wisniewski and Donald Penn so you would think they could create some opportunities.
Fresh legs are needed at all times for the RB position, and McFadden at his young and unused 27 years should have a lot to offer, with the time he has missed. Mathematically, with his missed time, he only has a full 67 games under his belt, equivalent to 4.1 seasons. But, overall, with the health issues that have plagued him his entire career, I would be surprised to see this tandem become successful. Darren McFadden has had his chance, and he hasn’t capitalized on it. After 6 years of letting the Oakland Raiders down, what else can Darren possibly do to help his cause?
I think that Latavius Murray still has the possibility to someday become a feature back for Oakland. If he gets himself together, with his receiving ability as well, he is a big back, and has some speed. But he isn’t getting any touches to get anything moving either. He can be a great asset and should be the direction the Raiders will go in sooner than later. He can be dynamic coming from the back field.
McFadden would likely be better off going to a team with a shaky backfield in the NFL action, let him be a guy who can be a change of pace guy, catching some balls out off of some screen plays, he has always been a good pass catcher, 175 receptions in 6 years. And maybe rejuvenate himself elsewhere, I don’t ever see him being able to carry the ball 20+ times a game, and being a loadback, featured for a team. But with his soft hands and his pass catching ability he can thrive as a secondary back to another RB1.
McFadden’s days as a RB1 are over, it’s time to think otherwise in Oakland.