Coming into last season, nobody knew what to expect from Jordan, Rhodes or Fargas.
LaMont Jordan was a little banged up after getting flat out busted up by Donovan Darius in a Pre-Season bell ringer. He then went out and rumbled for 350 yards on the ground and caught 11 passes for 121 yards in his first three games.
He then got injured, again, against the Dolphins, in Week 4, after running 15 times for 74 yards.
By Game 8, against the Texans, he had lost his position to Justin Fargas and was never really heard from again.
He is still on the active roster and we all know that Al wants to choose where he goes, via a trade, because he does not want him to end up in the AFC West. Jordan was a force to be reckoned with when he was healthy in 2005. In 2005 he rushed for 1,025 yards, caught 70 passes for 563 yards and scored 11 Touch Downs on a very bad Oakland Raider team.
According to Warren Sapp Jordan was always out of shape coming into camp and that he didn't work very hard to stay in shape, so I say, good-bye and good ridance, when he is finally shown the door.
The biggest addition to the backfield last season was Dominic Rhodes.
Rhodes was instantly setback due to his four game suspension resulting from a DUI that he received before he was signed.
When he did get back to the team, in Week 5, I was a bit disappointed when I found out that he didn't even watch the games on TV.
It then took an injury to Justin Fargas to get him the lion's share of the carries.
In his first 9 games back he only carried the ball 19 times for a total of 64 yards. that is a far cry from the position that he was told he had in Oakland when his buddy Reggie Bush convinced him to sign here in the 2007 off-season because, according to Bush, Lane would find a way to get the ball in his hands.
By the time he started to find his groove, 100 yard games against Jacksonville AND San Diego, the season was over and once Fargas was re-signed, Darren McFadden was drafted and Michael Bush was pronounced healthy Rhodes was on his way back to Indy.
Last year's best backfield performance came from the hard running and gutsy Justin Fargas.
With Jordan and Rhodes signed for two-three years and the team drafting Michael Bush, it looked like Fargas was being fazed out of Oakland. No one would have guessed that he would be the team's 1,000 yard rusher (1,009) and that he would score a tough 3 yard touchdown on his final carry of 2007 with a sprained MCL.
Fargas was the heart and soul of the offense and his hard runs INTO contact were something that team seemed to rally around and it earned him the nickname, "Crash Test Dummy".
In 2008, the running back corps may be the best in the NFL:
As I already mentioned, last year's 1,000 yard rusher, Justin Fargas will be back.
One thing that Lane Kiffin has stuck with is his notion that starters do not lose their positions due to injury. What I do wonder is if starters lose their jobs because the team picks up one of the most dynamic players to leave college in the last 10 years.
When the Raiders drafted Darren McFadden they selected one of the most talented players that I have ever seen come out of College.
McFadden can split out wide and catch the ball, he can throw the ball out of the option or under center and he can run up the middle and on the outside.
His burst and speed in the open field should finally turn some of the holes that the line opens into 6 points.
If Darren wasn't already learning the playbook at a quick pace I would say that Lane would bring him along slowly. To Lane's own admission, McFadden is gobbling up the play book and already doing things that he thought may have taken longer.
The other "new back", I say new because he will see his first action, in 2008 will be the 250 pound wrecking ball that is Michael Bush. Oddly enough, if Bush hadn't hurt his knee in 2006, he may have been chosen over Adrian Peterson in last year's draft.
Bush is nearly as versatile as Mcfadden. Michael can line up under center on trick plays and throw the option as well as pound the rock up the middle. He is deceptively quick for a back his size and should be an upgrade over LaMont Jordan.
I don't see another tandem in the NFL that can match this three headed monster's potential. I mean, they may have a 1,000 yard rusher from 2007, perhaps, playing third fiddle!!!
Last Season's Grade was a solid B+, the team did finish 6th in rushing afterall, and this year's tandem is already an A+. Of course without Tom Cable's coaching who knows what the grade would have been last season, but there is no doubt that from a talent standpoint this tandem is a definite A+ regardless of any variables.
I'll take my first stab at naming them:
Are they "Run McFarBush"? Or "McBush Gas"? (There's Just Something Wrong About That One)
We "McFade" them, then "Bush" them over, before turning in the "Gas"? That could be a winning combo.
How about the "Silver Bullets"? Or, "Black Death"? The "Oaktown Express"?
Any of you ave any ideas? I'll post a poll next week so that we can vote on the nickname.
Cheers and Happy 4th as well as Happy Birthday Lord Al,