OAKLAND CA - NOVEMBER 07: Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders runs against the Kansas City Chiefs during an NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on November 7 2010 in Oakland California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
The Oakland Raiders have an incredibly versatile backfield. I don't know that backgrounds of all the running backs from other teams, but it is really hard to imagine a team with more versatile pieces in their backfield.
Marcel Reece plays fullback, but he was a starting receiver at the University of Washington. We all got a glimpse of his ability in routes last year. He could come out of the backfield for routes or he could split out wide and run any route that was asked of him.
Michael Bush is big enough, and blocks well enough to play fullback, but as we all know he has the goods to be a running back, but that's not all. Bush was a great high shcool QB. His senior of high school he led his team to the Kentucky State Championship game where he went up against future teammate Brian Brohm.
In that game Bush threw for 468 yards and six touchdowns. He ran for 116 yards and another touchdown. He also caught two passes for 24 yards, returned a punt and a kickoff, and made five tackles on defense.
Which brings me to another point, the dude can catch too. He doesn't get split out wide very often but he is tremendous slipping out the backfield. Jump over for more....
Then there is Darren McFadden. He may be the best athlete of them all. He doesn't have the diverse position history of the others, but that is only because he has always been so amazing at running back. If McFadden focused on playing receiver he'd probably be an NFL starter.
McFadden dominated out of the wildcat formation in college the majority of the time he was running the ball, but when he threw he was 14 for 22 with 205 yards and 7 TD to just 1 INT.
Do you see what I am getting at here? The Raiders are possibly better equipped to run the wildcat than any other team. Combine their backfield with the fact that the offensive line was way better at run blocking than pass blocking and it is hard to believe they only ran it six times in 2010.
According to Pro Football Focus the Raiders ran the wildcat five times—five with Darren McFadden and one with Jacoby Ford as the QB. All six were runs, and the Raiders gained 30 yards on the five plays.
If I'm not mistaken all of McFadden's came in one possession in the first matchup with the Chiefs. I think it is obvious there is room for more creativity here. the Raiders can also throw in the explosive Taiwan Jones into this mix, too.
McFadden or Bush are more than capable to handle the QB duties. The possibilities are endless. The Raiders could even just leave Jason Campbell on the sideline. Imagine a formation with Bush under center and Taiwan Jones behind him. McFadden and Reece could split out wide on the same side.
The Raiders could then do any number of run/option plays with Bush and Jones, or Bush could swing a quick pass over to McFadden for a wide receiver screen with Reece blocking for him. Hell, Bush could throw back to McFadden and then he and Jones could go out in routes to. McFadden could then run or throw, and this isn't even incorporating Jacoby Ford yet.
Obviously there is a lot of room for mistakes here, and I don't suggest the Raiders run the wildcat more than a few times a game, but with weapons like these they should explore the options. One of Hue Jackson's mantras is he is going to put players in the best position to succeed. It seems that at least in a few cases the wildcat would be the way to go.
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