The past decade has been a sad state of affairs for the Raiders. This is said to be the first year of their reconstruction so it seemed appropriate to see how they stack up position by position to the players at that same position over the past ten Raiders teams.
We move to the running backs now to see where the prospects of the Raiders' 2014 running-back-by-committee ranks among them.
1. Darren McFadden/ Michael Bush (2010-11) - 2010 was McFadden's one ‘great' season with the Raiders. It was the only season in which he played 12 full games healthy and he did it in a system designed to play on his strengths. The result was 1157 rushing yards and 507 receiving yards with 10 total touchdowns. That season Michael Bush added 655 yards rushing and 8 touchdowns while starting just the final three games in place of McFadden. The following season in 2011, McFadden came out the gates firing on all cylinders and looking like he would better his 2010 totals. That lasted six games. In the seventh game, he went out with a Lisfranc foot injury and was lost for the season. This time Bush was there to more than pick up the slack. In nine starts, Bush had 977 yards rushing and 418 yards receiving with 8 total touchdowns. Based on their college performances, this duo should have been the most potent in the league. And for a couple seasons, it didn't matter which of them was in the game, they dominated.
2. Justin Fargas/ Lamont Jordan (2006-07) - This is mostly about 2007. That was Justin Fargas' one and only 1000-yard season for the Raiders. Though his hard-nosed play kept him around for a few years. These two complemented each other nicely. Fargas averaged 4.5 yards per carry which is what helped push him over 1000 yards despite starting just seven games. Jordan added 549 yards of his own. Toss in Dominic Rhodes and his 302 yards on the ground and you have a very strong ground attack.
3. Justin Fargas/ Michael Bush/ Darren McFadden (2008-09) - This trio shared the rock for two seasons for the Raiders. The 2008 season was the first for Bush and McFadden. Bush was finally back fully recovered from breaking his leg in his senior year at Louisville and McFadden was the team's rookie 4th overall pick. The three combined for 1773 rushing yards in 2008, led by Fargas with 853 yards in 14 starts. In 2009, Bush led the way with 589 yards in seven starts and a healthy 4.8 yards per carry. Then Fargas added 491 yards in four starts with McFadden came in third with 357 yards on seven starts and a 3.4 yards per carry average.
4. Darren McFadden/ Maurice Jones-Drew (2014) - It's possible one of these two can get to 1000 yards this season. How likely that is? Well, it's hard to say. McFadden has looked like a shell of his former self the past two seasons, and it's not for certain how much MJD has left. Neither have been able to stay healthy of late. Surpassing 1000 yards isn't the end all, be all. There are a lot of options/competition at running back for the Raiders right now. With DMac and MJD leading the way, they just need to find the third back from a pretty decent looking group. None stand out as a frontrunner but that's what camp is for. They stand a pretty good chance of finding three guys who can do a respectable job of toting the rock, with the possibility for much better. Though with the injury history, things could also turn sour pretty quickly.
5. Lamont Jordan (2005) - His totals that season were good. He just managed to surpass 1000 rushing yards (1025) and added 563 yards receiving with 11 total touchdowns (9 rushing). The one knock on him is he averaged just 3.8 yards per carry to do it. He also had no help whatsoever. No one to take carries from him and share the load.
6. Darren McFadden/ Rashad Jennings (2013) - McFadden started the season, as he has every year since he was drafted. And as he has also done every year, he got injured and couldn't finish the season. This time it was after seven starts. He was not playing well even before the injury (3.3 yards per carry) and the Raiders were actually better off when Rashad Jennings stepped in as the starter. Jennings immediately improved the run game, averaging 4.5 yards per carry to finish the season with 733 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
7. Darren McFadden (2012) - This season, McFadden finished with his second most starts (12) but he didn't have the numbers to show for it. The Raiders had switched to the zone blocking scheme and he was lost in it. He averaged 3.3 yards per carry and was utterly ineffective. The Raiders scrambled to fill in for him using Mike Goodson, Marcel Reece, and Jeremy Stewart over the remaining four games. Marcel Reece did have a 100-yard game and Mike Goodson averaged 6.3 yards per carry. So, that's something.
8. Tyrone Wheatley/ Amos Zereoue (2004) - Don't let Tyrone Wheatley's name fool you. This wasn't the same TyWheat who led the Raiders to the Super Bowl. He was on his last legs in 2004 and it would be his last in the NFL. Hey, remember Amos Zeroue? No? Don't feel bad, most people don't. He took over as the starter for Wheatley and didn't exactly set the world on fire. Both backs averaged 3.8 yards per carry that season for a total of 752 yards between them.