Time for McFadden to produce in Oakland

Isn’t it about time for Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden to show us something on Sundays? The former first-round pick is heading into his third pro season and sooner or later he has to be held accountable for his lack of production.

According to a report Wednesday from the Contra Costa Times, Raiders head coach Tom Cable said that he wouldn’t have an issue using a two-back attack of McFadden and Michael Bush. Probably the right move, as most teams in the league who have successful ground games do it with multiple names.

But don’t let that fool you, because there is plenty of pressure on McFadden. Two years that consist of injuries and below-average numbers. Less than four yards per carry and five TDs — five total TDs.

That’s not good enough. We know that, but when you look at this Raiders team heading into 2010, I expect McFadden — and the rest of that offense — to improve dramatically.

It started with the hiring of Hue Jackson as the new offensive coordinator. I was with Hue back in Washington under Steve Spurrier, and I do see him as an underrated coach who will flourish in his first season in Oakland — where they will run the football. Cable wouldn’t bring in an OC who didn’t want to pound the ball and move the chains.

Plus, there is a real pro quarterback in town with Jason Campbell. I’m sorry, but that JaMarcus Russell experiment was an absolute failure and it killed this offense from a production and rhythm standpoint. I’m not going to claim Campbell as a Pro Bowl QB, but he is a major upgrade who can make the proper decisions, work within an offense that wants to run the ball and set up manageable third downs. That wins in the NFL.

But, it still goes back to McFadden. He has explosive power and I see him as a running back that can press the edge of the defense. Not a back that can consistently run between the tackles and he does take plenty of hits on that 6-2 frame. But, he can be dynamic in certain situations and offensive packages.

I don’t want to call McFadden a situational player, a gimmick player or someone who we watch line up in the wildcat. He has more talent than that — but he has to stay on the field. Stay out of the training room and get it done.

Bush is the more complete back for the pro game, but that doesn’t mean that McFadden won’t have the opportunities to make plays for this offense in 2010. Now, he just has to show us he was worth that high draft pick.

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