Since Darren McFadden has been out with his hamstring injury, Rashad Jennings has done nothing short of making McFadden look expendable. One might even go as far as to say Jennings has made McFadden look like a liability. His performances have earned him more playing time even if/when McFadden returns from his hamstring injury.
"Yeah, absolutely," said Dennis Allen of Jennings earning more playing time. "It's a production business and when he's had the opportunity to go in there, he's produced. And when you do that you get more opportunities. So I was very pleased with the way he ran the football in the game the other day."
Sunday was Jennings' second start of the season and he had over 100 yards of offense (88 rushing, 19 receiving). This after coming in for McFadden against the Eagles the previous week and putting up 102 yards and a touchdown on the ground with 74 yards receiving.
All told, Jennings has had two starts this season as well as the Eagles game in which he played a little over two quarters. He has had over 100 yards of offense in all three of those games. The other game was week 4 against the Redskins in which he ran for 45 yards and had 8 catches for 71 yards.
He also has 4.65 yards per carry on the season.
Darren McFadden on the other hand, has had just one game this season in which he had over 100 yards of total offense -- against the lowly Jaguars -- in seven starts. During that time he has more than a yard less per carry than Jennings (3.6). Jennings is also just 22 rushing yards shy of McFadden on the season... in five less starts.
More important than stats is the eye test. You watch Jennings on the field and it is clear he is a good fit for this offense. He thrives in yards after contact while McFadden is the anti-after-contact runner. McFadden needs open space and he doesn't get much of it in this offense with this offensive line.
This is the second time McFadden has gone out with a hamstring strain this season there is no telling when exactly he will return. It could even be as soon as this week.
Dennis Allen would not go as far as to say Jennings has earned the starting job over McFadden just yet.
"Oh, I don't know. We'll look at that," said Allen. "I think the key is that he's going to get his touches because he's earned his touches."
At very least, Jennings has earned equal time in the eyes of his coaches. It is clear to everyone else he has earned much more than that. Perhaps telling McFadden there's no need for him to rush back might be in order.
Jennings has taken the job and literally ran with it. Gotta go with the hot hand.