As a Raider fan you’re always going to have your favorite players. Now, we’re not talking about rolling into the East Bay sporting a #20 McFadden jersey. That is a big a no brainer as taking Salma Hayek as the favorite to win a wet T-shirt contest versus Jennifer Anniston. No, as a true Raider fan I’m talking about those that were calling for Nick Miller to get more touches. I’m talking to the crowd that was screaming for Mike Mitchell to be starting over Hiram Eugene.
You know who you are. And if you’re one of those types then you’ve got to be dying to see more of Taiwan Jones.
When the Raiders first drafted Jones most only saw his blazing 40-time as the reason he earned a Silver and Black jersey. When he was finally healthy enough to practice his legend slowly began to grow thanks to the eye witness reports coming out of camp. Then came Taiwan’s stunning pre-season debut against the New Orleans Saints.
Jones was simply amazing. So much so that NBC analyst Cris Collinsworth compared Jones to Tennessee Titan speedster Chris Johnson.
Taiwan is more than a speed demon. He plays a physical style of football that is in stark contrast to his wiry frame. Whenever he gets the rock in space you can expect to be amazed. Jones makes cuts at full speed and can accelerate like John Force on Red Bull.
Well, Raider Nation’s wish could be granted by Hue Jackson this Sunday.
Vittorio Tafur reports that Jones has been splitting first team reps with Michael Bush this week. As Darren McFadden looks more and more unlikely to play, Jones looks more likely to get his chance.
I’m not saying that we’re going to see something that will make us forget McFadden. However there is a real chance that Jones could spell the end for Bush.
Keep in mind Michael Bush is on a one-year deal and the Raiders didn’t seem very anxious to give him an extension.
To be sure Jones has a long way to go. Being an NFL running back is more than just running and catching. Jones need only watch Run DMC closely to learn that. Picking up the blitz and laying punishing blocks are as much a part of the game as securing the ball and moving the chains for pro runners.
Still, Jones has the potential to become a real weapon.
So my advice would be to keep an open roster spot on your fantasy team if you can spare it. Surely you already had Michael Bush as I did. We know how it goes with Run DMC so having a backup plan was only right. But depending on how things go Sunday, Taiwan could go from being a fan favorite to a highlight reel feature.
Get your popcorn ready.