Raiders running back Darren McFadden struggled during his first two years as he was affected by injuries. At the time, the Raiders were exclusively a zone blocking team, adding more gap and power schemes when Hue Jackson arrived as offensive coordinator in 2009.
Jackson immediately went to McFadden to inquire about the plays he liked best and zone runs weren’t necessarily at the top of the list. The Raiders return to a zone scheme this year.
However, McFadden did have some decent games as a zone runner — a 164-yard game against the Chiefs as a rookie — and he feels the problem wasn’t with the scheme as it much as it was sense of self.
“I feel like once you’re playing with confidence, you can go out there and run the ball in any offense,” McFadden said. “I don’t feel what we’re doing this year, going from a power scheme to a zone-blocking scheme, is going to make any difference.”
Ford tough: It turns out that the foot injury sustained by wide receiver Jacoby Ford is similar to the one he had last season and caused him to miss six weeks. Ford was injured on Aug. 17 in a preseason game against Arizona. “It’s kind of up in the air at this point,” Ford said when asked if he could play in the opener.
New faces: Punter Shane Lechler is still attempting to learn about his new special teams teammates. The Raiders brought in waiver claims Keenan Clayton, Coye Francies and Phillip Adams and all will be special teams regulars.
“You pass ’em in the hallway and wish they would wear their jerseys all the time so you could tell who everybody is,” Lechler said.