So in re-reading my column today that said Darren McFadden needs to be used to his full myriad of talents this upcoming season for the Raiders' offense to gain traction, I was again struck by something coach Tom Cable said.
"If you look at us the last six weeks...and particularly the last three weeks, we used him more in that role, extensively in the last two weeks, and it seemed to really complement everybody," Cable said, meaning using Run DMC in space, allowing him to throw the ball, lining him up as the shotgun quarterback in the Wildcat Formation, putting him at receiver, etc... "It opened everybody up.
"It adds a lot to us and he's a guy that...has to get a number of touches in a ballgame and he helps everybody around him."
Ya think? So I went back and looked at Run DMC's stats the last three games.
In a 49-26 home blowout loss to the New England Patriots, McFadden had 12 carries for 46 yards, including a fourth-quarter TD run from 11 yards out, and caught three passes for a season-high 68 yards, including a career-long 27-yard reception.
In the 27-16 home victory over the Houston Texans, he again had 12 rushes, for the same 46 yards, and caught a team-best five passes for 41 yards.
But in the season finale 31-24 comeback road win that not only knocked the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of the playoffs but booted Jon Gruden off the sidelines and into the announcer's booth, McFadden had only one carry for two yards and two catches for 10 yards. Then again, that was the day Michael Bush ran wild for 177 yards, including his breathtaking 67-yard scoring run.
Sorry to bring up a Niner, Raider Nation, but while McFadden doesn't need to replicate Roger Craig's 1,000-yard rushing, 1,000-yard receiving season of 1985 a 1,300-yard-from-scrimmage campaign would go a long way in getting the Raider offense going. Especially after he ran the ball 113 times for 499 yards and caught 29 passes for 285 yards as a rookie.
- As you'd expect, the passive-aggressive start to Camp Cable, a full day of meetings before four straight two-a-day practices in helmets and shorts with no contact, raised a few eyebrows among the first-year head coach's staff.
"They sat there and looked at me at first, and then it was like, `OK,'" Cable admitted. "The majority of these (coaches) have been in the NFL for quite some time, and it's different. But now that we're into it, and now that they've talked it through, and now that they've done it, they're like, 'Hopefully we'll never do this any different.'"
And the genesis of starting off on such a feel-good note?
"I always thought, when I became the head coach permanently, that's how I would run camp," Cable said. "It's easy to just throw them in there and say, `All right, let's go bang, and let's go practice, let's get into camp,' because that's what everybody does.
"That's one way. The way I think...will work for us is, let's teach them and really get this mental thing under control. Let's get them in the routine of two-a-days, get their bodies used to getting up, all those things, take care of your veterans, take of your skill guys who are running the entire practice, basically, and see if you can't take care of all those things. And the bottom line is we've taught so much situation football the last few days."
We'll see soon enough if it's been productive.