Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

May 10, 2008
There's more to like about McFadden

ALAMEDA – Darren McFadden continues to be impressive when speaking with the media.

He’s confident in his ability but far from cocky, much along the lines of JaMarcus Russell.

The following are some highlights of McFadden’s presser:

On the playbook:

“It’s something different. They hand you a playbook with pens and highlighters in there with a notebook to take notes. That’s something you don’t get in college. If you want to take notes you have to come with your own stuff. So I knew it was serious once they handed a playbook out like that.”

So does he want to have the whole playbook “thrown” at him:

“For me, I’d say I’d like it because I’m a competitor. But at the same time, I know it’s only good to throw a few things at you just so you can understand and get the concepts because once you get the concept or the first part of it it’s a lot easier to catch on to the rest of it when they throw it at you.”

He was asked about possibly missing training camp because of contract negotiations:

“I don’t want to miss training camp. I want to be out there playing. That’s why I’m hoping that my agent and everybody get the contract straight because I want to be out there, being able to learn the plays and being out there with the guys getting used to the offense.”

On who he’s comparable to in the NFL today (I see some Eric Dickerson, but he’s not in the NFL now):

“I guess the closest thing I could say is Adrian Peterson because we’re both big, fast guys. He’s probably a little more physical than I am but as far as just natural play-making and talent, I feel like I have an edge on any running back. Not saying it to be cocky or anything but I feel like I’m very versatile and I can play a lot of different positions.”

On the support system he’ll have in Oakland (remember, he’s only 20):

“My sister’s going to move out with me to just have someone come out and support me. I’ve been loving the support I’ve been getting from the Oakland Raiders. Have a Hall of Famer like Willie Brown, he was out at the draft with me, flew in with my family. Just got us accustomed to everything. I feel like they have a great supporting cast here.”

McFadden showed of his versatility today at practice and was impressive.

McFadden lined up at receiver and running back when playing with Michael Bush. He took some pitches at tailback and his ability to get to the corner was something to watch, even though there was no contact.

"I thought Darren had a really impressive day, adding a lot to the offense, what we can do with him today where he was in the backfield most of the day yesterday running normal things," said Lane Kiffin. "We got him outside and did some really good things, as well as Michael Bush outside as well."

McFadden doesn’t have the legs of a sprinter (huge thighs, bulging calfs). And he looks as if he’s running effortlessly at time.

He also looked very natural at wide receiver. He catches the ball with his hands, not his body, and looks comfortable in the open field.

I’m writing about Michael Bush for tomorrow’s paper. He said he’s not any bigger, but “more defined” because of his workout regimen.

He added the only reminder of his broken right leg from 2006 is the knot on his leg.

Bush said he was “happy” the team drafted McFadden, even though it meant adding another running back.

But as my niece would ask, “But why?”

Here’s what Bush said:

“Because I think the coaches still know what I can bring to the table as well. I’ve never doubted myself at any point of bringing anybody. And as far as team-wise, bringing in the best guy that was on the board at the time is good, cause it’ll also help us out as a winning team. Anytime you can bring in new guys that help our team, it’s good I think.”

Some final observations from practice:

*WR Will Buchanon is lucky these drills aren’t full contact. If they were, he’d be hurting because he would have been laid out by DB David Lofton a couple of times.

*There was a lot of Bush/McFadden together on the field today – either in the backfield together or with McFadden at receiver.

*For all those craving more blitzes, I think I saw (really) a safety blitz from Tyvon Branch.

*It’s hard to gauge how good any of the receivers or DBs are without a real pass rush. But McFadden’s speed was evident and Arman Shields made a nice catch. I felt bad for linebackers asked to track down McFadden. Bush was just too big for any of them to cover.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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