December 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) runs for a short gain during the second quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Darren McFadden and the Raiders Feel Like 2013 Will Be a Breakout Year

The Oakland Raiders are excited about what the 2013-14 season may have in store for running back Darren McFadden.

McFadden has for the most part lived up to his potential when has not been injured. In 2012-12 he averaged 5.4 yards per carry through seven games played. He also topped the five yards per tote mark in 2010-11 with 5.2 yards through 13 games played.

And then there was the disastrous 2012-13 campaign. McFadden was plagued by both injuries and a poor performance. In 12 games played, he only scraped together an average of 3.3 yards per carry.

Everyone around the Raiders are blaming that on the scheme of former offensive coordinator Gregg Knapp who was fired after just one year on the job. Knapp had also been with the Raiders n 2007. Knapp in his limited time with Oakland initiated a zone-blocking scheme that did not fit McFadden’s skill set.

To remedy those ills, the Raiders have installed a power blocking scheme under new OC Greg Olson and new offensive line coach Tony Sparano.

Raiders head coach Dennis Allen told the San Francisco Chronicle that McFadden should be good to go now.

McFadden’s “most effective years have been in a downhill, power scheme,” s Allen said. “That’s why Greg Olson and Tony Sparano are here.”

McFadden is buying into the changes.

“This is very exciting for me,” McFadden said. “I am the type of guy who likes to go downhill, make a cut and go; that’s my thing. We’ll mix it up like we used to, and get some zones in there, but for the most part, I will be keeping my shoulders toward the line of scrimmage.”

Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie agrees.

“I’m looking forward to Darren McFadden having a great season this year,” McKenzie said. He’s a “north-south runner, not a lateral mover.”

McFadden sounds like he is ready to prove himself all over again.

“I know what I can do,” McFadden said. “I do feel like I am still a top-five back.”

The Raiders have doubts at both quarterback and wide receiver so they will need him to be just that if they want any form of success.

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