We’re grinding towards the midpoint of the 2012 season and the Oakland Raiders still have yet to get their running game in gear. Take away one 64-yard run by Darren McFadden (his only gain of 20+ yards on the season) and there really isn’t much to write home about.
Naturally all eyes are on Dennis Allen and Greg Knapp for their stubborn approach to fitting a square peg into a round hole. Hue Jackson certainly didn’t seem to have any problem getting the most out of McFadden. And Run DMC is healthy so what exactly is the problem?
Perhaps it’s time to start questioning McFadden. Hate to open that box because there is no doubt dude gives it 110% every time he suits up. Plus you know nobody is more distraught over Oakland’s struggles than McFadden.
But you’ve just got to wonder if he’s ever going to adapt to the philosophies of Knapp’s offense. We’ve seen Mike Goodson have some success on a small scale in the same system and this isn’t the first time Knapp has turned McFadden into a Justin Fargas clone.
We’re beyond the point of patience. It’s not like the Raiders have been going up against premier defenses every week either.
So what exactly is the issue?
I get that the O-line hasn’t been nearly the consistent unit from a year ago. However the only real difference is on the right side where Mike Brisiel has come in and Willie Smith has stepped up in the absence of Khalif Barnes. Brisiel arrived having played in the zone scheme in Houston while Stefen Wisniewski is at his natural position and Cooper Carlisle has moved to the opposite side of the line but he’s playing guard still.
What is the problem here? What are we missing?
The real concern is that the coaches are officially at a loss too. Coach Allen has been relegated to admitting his frustration but offering nothing else other than a “keep trying” answer.
“I’m disappointed that it’s not doing better. Again, we’re going to continue to work, continue to see what we can do better, both as a coaching staff and how can we execute better to give our guys a chance to be successful. I don’t think there’s any doubt that we want, and need, to run the ball better than we have.”
The good news is McFadden and the coaches are staying positive. Of course they really have no choice. Without McFadden clicking the Raiders only hope is to keep grinding out ugly wins. Even then any playoff hopes will go up in smoke if there isn’t a ground game to balance the offensive attack and keep the opposing offense off the field.
So…exactly when are we going to get some answers that aren’t sounding like the same generic rhetoric? Most likely not until we see something on the field that isn’t the same old three yards and a cloud of dust.