I’m not trying to jinx Darren McFadden, the Oakland Raiders as a whole or Greg Knapp’s offense but we need to talk about this openly.
Since Knapp’s return to Oakland all we’ve heard about his how he’s installing his version of the West Coast offense that helped turn Arian Foster into an elite level playmaker. We keep being reminded of how much McFadden will be featured and how Carson Palmer will have to adjust to rolling out and throwing on the run.
What we don’t want to give much thought to is what happens if McFadden’s injury issues appear again. Then what will happen to Knapp’s McFadden-dependent offense? We’d all love to believe that Taiwan Jones can step in and explode on the scene but that’s not very realistic, at least not at this point.
Simply put Knapp needs to have a Plan B in place and ready to go should he suddenly find himself McFadden-less. Hoping Run DMC will be around for all 16 games isn’t foolish but expecting it to happen would be shortsighted. It hasn’t happened yet.
Knapp’s game plan will have to include a contingency plan that places more responsibility on Carson Palmer while also being creative enough to get the other weapons involved in different ways. This can’t be an attack from one front even with a healthy McFadden.
That’s where Al Saunders’ continued involvement in the offense will be very crucial. During his one year at the helm of Oakland’s offense Saunders helped to craft a scheme that had McFadden on track to be an MVP candidate.
Here’s hoping Knapp can pickup where Saunders left off before McFadden got hurt and Hue Jackson got the boot. But no matter how much he can get out of McFadden it won’t matter if he finds himself without McFadden and without a plan in place to replace all that lost production.