Greetings, and welcome to the second issue of the Weekly Raider. This issue is jam-packed with plenty of good reading. With my take on the ever-explosive Darren McFadden, my opinion on who our backup TE should be, and of course the Featured Fan. Hope you enjoy!
-Featured Raider- #20 Darren McFadden, RB-
From the most explosive, dynamic, and versatile running back in college at Arkansas, to arguably Okaland's greatest offensive weapon; Darren McFadden is more than just a typical Raiders speed pick. McFadden brings a lot to the table. From his infamous legs, to his potent jukes, to his soft hands, to legendary stiff arm, to his tremendous upper body strength; McFadden looks to be a much more utilized back in Oakland's stacked backfield.
McFadden had a rough rookie year to say the least. After a good showing against Denver and tearing up KC's defense, things started to go downhill for the rookie back. After Fargas was injured in Kansas City, McFadden took over the starting role in of the most run-heavy offenses in the NFL. A tough task for any rookie.
Then you throw in a turf toe and limited carries by Bush, and McFadden had his work cut out for him. He couldn't run as smooth, couldn't maneuver as well, and couldn't run as hard. And this is just his role as a running back that suffered. He still had to pass block and run routes. Then there was also apparently a second turf toe and some reports of a shoulder injury.
However, as Bush's carries went up a bit and Fargas eventually got back to playing, McFadden starting getting back to his old form. Just seemed the season wasn't long enough for him to get over 500 yards rushing though. But with injuries and reduced carries down the stretch, it's not really his fault.
All in all though, McFadden had far from a bad year. 499 yards rushing, 285 receiving, and 4 rushing TD's. McFadden showed us what he's capable of in limited action, and most of that action being injured. Imagine a healthy Darren. I'm thinking 800 yards rushing, over 500 receiving, and at least 6 total TD's for next year. However this is assuming his new custom Nike's (made just for his turf toe problems) work and he avoids injuries for the most part.
Whether he's running like a throughbred in the backfield, catching passes from the backfield, lining up at receiver, or maybe even playing some QB from the Wildcat, McFadden is a weapon that every team must account for. If they don't, you can count on McFadden to blaze them for a 30 yard run, or run a sweep for a touchdown in the redzone (remember that Denver fans?)
A good kid, a speed demon, and a true Raider.
-Random Thoughts: Backup TE-
This has always been an interesting topic of discussion since Miller came aboard the Oakland Raiders, who will be the TE opposite him. Who can be that blocker to free Miller up to make plays? Who can be that guy who can catch some passes of his own to confuse the D on occassion?
With two-TE sets looking to be the staple of the Oakland ground game and some of the air attack this year, this seems like the perfect time to revive the discussion.
As it stands, Oakland has 6 TE's on roster.
1. Zach Miller- next great Oakland TE. Great pass catcher, good blocker, good speed for a TE of his size.
2. Brandon Myers- 6th. round pick. Great blocker in college. Good set of hands.
3. Chris O'Neill- UDFA. Not much info on him
4. Darrell Strong- UDFA from last year. Another good blocker. Probably second best pass catcher on roster at TE.
5. John Paul Foschi- former Raider. Can play TE and FB. Also plays special teams. Hasn't done much thus far.
6. Tony Stewart- last year's backup. Good blocker but was kept mostly for special teams.
The competition for backup TE looks to be a good one and is the competition I want to see the most. I'd persoanlly like to see the job go to either Strong or Myers. Mainly because both are young and have the ideal skill sets. Great blocker in both the run and pass game, and both have the size and hands to make some tough catches and be matchup nightmares for smaller safeties and linebackers.
Strong is the faster of the two from what I've heard and made some good plays last year in traning camp. And I haven't heard anything bad from him this offseason.
I've had the opportunity to see Myers when he played for Iowa multiple times. And quite frankly, I didn't notice him. But that's not a bad thing. Iowa ran a lot of two-TE packages and had was a great running tream. Myers blocked frequently and was practically a third offensive tackle up front for the Hawkeyes.
I'm hoping Oakland keeps both of these TE's so they can develop and become even better. And for our two-TE sets, both are invauable assets to have on our team.
-Featured Fan: LiveAdam-
LiveAdam was very active this offseason on Silver and Black pride. Digging up the latest pre-draft news and giving us some of the more unknown draft prospects who could end up being potential steals. LiveAdam has always been a source of up-to-date information and always types up smart, well-thought out, and interesting comments and fanposts. Major props go to LiveAdam as he is your Featured Fan.
And for his reward, a random image.
Well that's all folks. Check back next week for more Raiders reading.