Raiders running game can’t get off the ground

Getty Images File PhotoGround game falling flat: The Raiders’ running game was stifled in Denver

The biggest among the myriad problems for the Raiders during their bye week has been the absence of a running game.

Oakland ranks dead last in the NFL in rushing at 60.8 yards per game a quarter of the way through the season.
It’s a huge setback, considering the Raiders were self-advertised as a team that would lean heavily on the run and had finished second in the NFL in rushing in 2010 and seventh a year ago.

The hope was that running back Darren McFadden and the offensive line had come together in the previous week’s 34-31 win over Pittsburgh. McFadden had rushed for 113 yards on 18 carries, opened the game with a 64-yard scoring run, and also had some tough short-yardage runs in the red zone.

A week later, McFadden was grounded again, gaining 34 yards on 13 carries against Denver. The Broncos were a team McFadden had abused in previous meetings, gaining 508 yards and averaging 7.3 yards per carry — including a 150-yard, 22-carry effort in the 2011 regular-season opener.

So once again, the Raiders’ switch to a pure zone blocking team was put under a microscope. McFadden had his most productive seasons when Hue Jackson introduced gap and power blocking, although injuries surely played a large factor in the first two non-productive seasons with a blocking system with Tom Cable as head coach.

Raiders coach Dennis Allen has said repeatedly he believes in the system from having to defend against it. Coach Greg Knapp likens it to a “start-up” company that will take some time. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack said during training camp that zone teams are better off being zone teams, without mixing and matching, with the “chaos” it produces.

However, following the Denver loss, Allen left the door open to re-evaluating Oakland’s blocking schemes after a 1-3 start.

“We’re going to evaluate everything,” Allen said. “We’re not going to stick our head in the sand. We’re going to evaluate everything and see what things we need to improve on and where we can get better, and there’s a lot of things that go into that.”

Whether the Raiders alter their style remains to be seen, but Allen made it clear there were more factors than blocking philosophy that were playing into the struggles, including a poor third-down conversion rate and falling behind.

“There’s a lot of different things that are involved in it,” Allen said. “When you’re chasing points you’re not able to run the ball consistently and therefore you’re not able to run the ball effectively. There’s a lot of factors that go into that and are involved in that, and that’s what we got to do this bye week.”

When Allen was asked about McFadden being a non-factor, he said, “Well, if you ask the [defensive coordinators], they would say that he is a factor. When you look back at the end of the year, you’re going to say Darren had success this year.”

Dennis AllenNFLOakland Raiders & NFLRaiders

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

SF Board of Education vice president Gabriela Lopez and commissioner Alison Collins listen at a news conference condemning recent racist and social media attacks targeted at them and the two student representatives on Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Online attacks on school board members denounced by city officials

City officials on Monday condemned the targeting of school board members, both… Continue reading

Most Read