Anybody who has followed Greg Knapp's career knows that he loves to run the ball. Even when passing the ball he wants it to look like it will be a run. Airport security has actually complained that Greg Knapp runs to the plane when it is time to board. That last part is not true but you get the point. We will be running the rock this year.
We have a defensive minded head coach and a run at all costs offensive coordinator which means that we are going to live and die in the trenches. We have the talent to be able to win this way but it takes a grueling determination to do so. We need everybody on our team to be in the best shape of their lives. The Raiders are going to want to be punishing their opponents, which in turn means they will be punishing their own bodies as well. It is who we are and have always been so those worried about losing the Raider mystique that comes with being rough and tenacious you needn't be worried.
The running game has been a major point of emphasis for our Raiders anyway, but it is going to get kicked up a notch next season. If Darren McFadden can stay healthy the sky will be the limit for him, but nobody should be comfortable with DMC remaining healthy the whole season. This means we need our back ups to be ready at the drop of a dime. Mike Goodson, Taiwan Jones, and whoever the last guy we add is are going to have to be ready to pick up the load if McFadden goes down.
More Proof that this will be the case comes by way of Carson Palmer when he was asked about what he plans to do on his break before training camp begins:
“Really go back through everything, starting with protections. Everything starts with protections. He (Dennis Allen) fired everything at us, there really wasn’t a time to sit back and absorb little things here and there; little nuances of the running game, little nuances of redirection protections and two-minute and all of these different situations. Really kind of break it down, starting with protections, and then go on through all of the run game responsibilities on the quarterback because that’s where we’re going to really set the tone of games- with our running game.”
Not that anybody needed more proof that this was the direction we were heading but there is some anyway. When our starting quarterback is talking about spending the next few weeks looking at the protection packages and his role in the running game you know that it is real. As the running game goes so will our Raiders.
Lets hope that we have a Darren McFadden that is more durable than anybody believes possible. I am excited about the possibilities and nervous about the consequences. I just really hope that McFadden keeps his crutches tucked safely and unneeded away into the back of his closet. It is going to be an exciting season, I only wish it was about to start this Sunday!