Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

December 18, 2008
Texans get most out of rookie RB

ALAMEDA - The good news for the Raiders is Ron Dayne isn't with the Houston Texans this season.

Dayne ran for 217 yards and a touchdown in the Texans' last two games in Oakland, both wins for Houston.

Unfortunately for the Raiders, the Texans have upgraded at running back.

The Texans drafted Steve Slaton in the third round from West Virginia.

He's second amongst rookies with 1,124 rushing yards.

Texans coach Gary Kubiak admitted Slaton's emergence wasn't the result of his coaching genius.

"To be honest with you, he was a very hard kid to study because he played in that wide open college system at West Virginia," Kubiak said. "He wasn't asked to protect much. His carries were coming out of the shotgun, so we're sitting there trying to project him in our system, lined up behind the quarterback, doing the things we want to do. The things we did know, we knew he was a very tough young man, with big play ability, and the thing that we really liked about him was how sharp he was when we talked football with him at Indianapolis and spent time with him at the combine, we knew he would catch up with what we want to do very quick. But he's been more than we expected. He's been a pleasant surprise."

Slaton was supposed to backup Ahman Green and Chris Brown. But injuries forced him to be the primary back in the same running system the Raiders use, but he's been much more productive than Raiders' running back Darren McFadden.

McFadden has missed time because of injury, but he averages a little more than half the rushing attempts of Slaton.

Slaton averages 16.4 runs a game compared to 9.1 for McFadden.

Topping 1,000 yards already wasn't something Slaton planned.

"That stuff was a dream," he said. "I didn't really think it would happen. I had great guys in front of me but injuries happened and Coach gave me a chance to step up."

McFadden is looking for that same chance.

--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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