Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) spits out water on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Oakland Raiders: Is This a Make-or-Break Year for Darren McFadden?

The Oakland Raiders have had their fair share of tough times over the past few years. Darren McFadden should hope to not contribute to that.

McFadden was a 2008 first-round draft pick and has had an enigma of a career. At times, he looks like one of the NFL’s most premier running backs, and in the next instant he looks like one of those injury-plagued players that never got to reach their full potential.

In 2010, McFadden carried the ball 223 times for a total of 1,157 rushing yards, and was poised to have an even better season the following year.

He started the next season on a tear, and had racked up 614 rushing yards through just the first seven games of the season, but then had to sit out for the rest of the season due to a Lisfranc injury that simply wouldn’t go away.

And this past season, McFadden played in just 12 games and only had 707 rushing yards. With his frequent injuries, is it safe to say that this is a make or break year for the talented back?

I believe so. At some point, a franchise is going to pull the plug on a player that was once thought to be their franchise savior. Think of Andrew Bynum and the Lakers; at some point, they had to let him walk away. Because like all the fans, the front office got impatient and couldn’t deal with it anymore.

McFadden has never played a full NFL season in his entire career. If he can somehow manage to do so this season, and rack up at least 1,000 rushing yards, then I believe the Raiders will think a lot more about bringing him back.

But on the other hand, if McFadden suffers yet another injury and is sidelined for over half the season, then I believe it’s time for the Raiders to just pull the plug. They stuck with him through the ups and the downs, but everything eventually comes to an end.

Fans will be rooting for McFadden to show off his true potential and explode like the running back that they know he is, but if he fails to produce to the level that he is expected, then what can they do?

The former first-round draft pick has a tough challenge ahead of him and hopefully he will be able to rise to the occasion and keep his career going strong, because it’s a  big waste to see such promising talent go down so hard.

Tags: Darren McFadden NFL Oakland Raiders

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