As reported yesterday, the Oakland Raiders are adjusting to the mobile style of quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Included in that adjustment period is tailback Darren McFadden.
As teams key on Pryor and try to stop read-option looks — as well as scrambles on broken plays, designed QB runs, etc. – McFadden may find some running lanes that might not have been there with a pocket-style quarterback.
“Being able to have a running quarterback, that’s something that’s going to open up the running game for a running back,” McFadden told Paul Gutierrez at ESPN.com. “A lot of defenses try to key in on him, but at the same time they have to worry about the running back also.”
Week 1 saw disappointing results for McFadden in the new scheme as he ran for just 48 yards on 17 carries against the Indianapolis Colts. In week 2 so far against Jacksonville, the Raiders feature back seems to be getting the hang of it – so far through three quarters against Jacksonville he has 91 yards on 13 carries.
“Darren understands how the read-option functions and when we call those types of plays, and again, that’s part of what we do, it’s not exclusively what we do,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told Scott Bair at CSNBayArea.com. “There will be times when we turn around and hand the ball to Darren and give him an opportunity that he knows he’s running the football. Darren’s going to be fine, guys. Everybody’s got a lot of concern about that, but Darren’s going to be fine.”
1,000+ yard rushers Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers and Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks exemplify the success that can be had with a scrambling quarterback. Darren McFadden has the ability to turn it around and be another example of the read-option breeding 1,000 yard seasons.