Raiders running back Darren McFadden is back at practice and according to head coach Dennis Allen, he is expected to return to game action this Thursday against the Cowboys. But does it even matter? With the way Rashad Jennings has been running, it may not.
Following the Raiders win over the Houston Texans two Sundays ago, Jennings led the league in yards after contact. He had 150 yards rushing in the game and 123 of those yards came after contact including the final 75 yards on a big 80 yard touchdown run in the third quarter.
Even without matching that kind of production last Sunday against the Titans, Jennings remains the NFL's leader in yards after contact.
Yards after contact is not something for which Darren McFadden is known.
Another interesting statistic brought to us by our friends at Pro Football Focus is the job Jennings is doing in pass blocking. Over the past two weeks, Jennings has not allowed a single pressure on the quarterback. That was a total of 21 snaps - 10 vs Houston, 11 vs Tennessee - in which he has perfect pass blocking.
Pass blocking is not something for which Darren McFadden is known.
Jennings again surpasses the 100 yard mark of total offense Sunday. He had a total of 122 yards from scrimmage (73 rushing, 49 receiving). This makes the fifth time this season in four starts Jennings has surpassed 100 yards of offense. Darren McFadden had just one such game this season in 7 starts.
In the past four games, Jennings has averaged over 100 yards rushing per game (103.3).
Not since early 2011 has surpassing 100 yards total offense or rushing for over 100 yards been something for which Darren McFadden was known.
While putting up good overall numbers, it isn't simply a matter of carrying the load at running back. Jennings had just 16 carries Sunday. He made the most of them, averaging 4.6 yards
Rashad Jennings has not missed a game this season. I think you see where I'm going with this one.
Dennis Allen is still not saying if McFadden will get his starting job back this season but he has said several times that Jennings has earned his touches even with McFadden's return.
At this point, McFadden should be seen as a highly specialized runner and only see action in certain packages to add another weapon to the offense in much the same way as Terrelle Pryor could be used.
There are five more games this season for McFadden to contribute. He will then hit free agency and it is hard to see the Raiders making any effort to bring him back.