We all know the story, in 2008 Al Davis used his first round selection on a talented running back out of Arkansas who was drafted to be the future of that position for the Raiders. Flash forward to McFadden’s sixth season and we are left here scratching our heads about what to do about the running back position with McFadden injured yet again. McFadden has never made it through more than 13 games, yet alone a full season without an injury hampering his season. This leads to the predicament about what to do with this running back whose talent is undeniable, but can’t seem to consistently be counted on to lead this team and its running game. Even when he is on the field, his production is sporadic and you can never know whether he’ll have under 1 YPC (Denver 2013) or total for 200 yards and three touchdowns (Jacksonville 2010).
Lets take a look back on McFadden’s stats over the past six seasons shall we. His first two seasons were very unspectacular, as he never rushed for over 500 yards in either season. Then he exploded in 2010 when, in just 13 games, he amassed 507 yards and three touchdowns through the air and 1,157 yards and 7 touchdowns on the ground. He was playing at an all pro level and continued that in 2011 through 6 games when he accumulated over 750 total yards and 5 touchdowns including a game where he torched the Jets for 171 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He was running the best football of his life and was in the MVP race, then the expected inevitable happened- injury struck…again.
That time it was a foot injury that knocked off the rest of what could have been a historic season that was on pace for 2036 total yards and 13 touchdowns. Now we are dealing with the news that he tweaked his hamstring during the Redskins game that we eventually lost. This begs the question, what are we going to do with McFadden?
This 2013 team’s offense was being geared up to be centered around the oft-injured back and the failure that was Matt Flynn. Here we are 6 games into the season, and not only is Flynn no longer on the team, but McFadden is not an offensive centerpiece because of Flynn’s departure. Now we have a quarterback in Terrelle Pryor who can alleviate some of McFadden’s load, and also steal some touches in the read-option offense the Raiders have installed. Throughout the past 6 years, we have had a stable of backup running backs who when McFadden goes down have performed at a high level, whether it be Michael Bush, the talented Marcel Reese, or Rashad Jennings. The fact that our offense generates just as much efficiency running the football whether McFadden is in or not asks us if we really need McFadden, or should trade him to a running back desperate team (Giants maybe?) who is willing to take a risk on him for some draft picks. At the very least we could draft a running back more durable than McFadden or even trade for one if we wished.
Should we, or should we not move on from McFadden is the question and as of right now, I don’t know the correct answer. If he comes back soon and plays in all the rest of the games this season at a high level, then bring him back, but if he misses more than five games, then Reggie and Allen have some tough decisions to make. Tell me your thoughts below on what you think the Raiders should do with Darren McFadden.