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Position group analysis: Running backs

Second in a series evaluating Raiders’ position groups as staff and scouts visit Indianapolis starting today for the scouting combine:

Starters: RB Michael Bush, FB Gary Russell. Backups: RB Darren McFadden, RB Justin Fargas, FB Luke Lawton, FB Oren O’Neal, FB Marcel Reece.

Review: For the third straight year, there are rumblings of the Raiders dumping players, and it’s worth remembering neither of the previous two supposed fire sales came off as planned.

The problem?

Even if the Raiders want to make changes, it’s tough to do it with players who aren’t at the peak of production. Bush led Raiders rushers with 589 yards and a 4.8 average but never seems to have caught the fancy of coach Tom Cable. Privately, Bush’s propensity to remove himself when he’s on a roll, halting momentum, rubs the coaching staff the wrong way. For all his talent, Bush’s production is not liable to bring back much more than what they expended to get him _ a fourth round draft pick.

McFadden would be a considerable salary dump, but he’s been a huge disappointment and can be thankful JaMarcus Russell is around to overshadow two seasons which have approached bust status because of injury problems (turf toe as a rookie, arthroscopic knee surgery in second year) and an inability to break tackles as evidenced by a puny 3.4 yards per carry average. He looks to be a gifted receiver, but the Raiders passing game is so poor he’s yet to be fully exploited in that way.

As for Fargas, he’s entering the final year of his contract, missed the last two games because of injury, and for all his heart and leadership, no team is going to give up much for an used crash test dummy.

The rest of the position is populated with fullbacks _ Lawton is a restricted free agent still under suspension and it’s conceivable he’s out of the picture. O’Neal’s catastrophic knee injury as a rookie wasn’t sufficiently healed for him to be successful last year. He’ll need to show something this year. The Raiders don’t seem to know what they want to do with Reece, playing him at fullback, tight end and even wide receiver at the end of the season.

Russell is a tweener not big enough to be a big-blocking fullback, not nifty enough to be a fulltime runner.

Contract status: Russell is a fourth-year restricted free agent, Lawton is a third-year restricted free agent and also under suspension for the first two games of the 2010 season should he re-sign for violating the policy on performance enhancing drugs.

What’s next: No doubt Al Davis and new offensive coordinator Hue Jackson have had long conversations about how the Ravens made the most of Ray Rice, Willis McGahee and La’Ron McClain.

Baltimore rushed for 2,200 yards, (fifth in the NFL) a 4.7 yards per carry average and 22 touchdowns. The Raiders were 21st with 1,701 yards, a 4.1 average and an incomprehensibly low seven rushing touchdowns in 16 games.

And that was supposed to be their strength.

With Fargas near the end of the line, the Raiders must decide if McFadden and Bush can become the kind of 1-2 punch popular in today’s NFL. Or they could simply make Bush the lead ballcarrier and convert McFadden into a Ronnie Harmon-type receiver out of the backfield _ provided they upgrade their passing attack to take advantage of his skills.

The third option?

Go in a different direction, deal McFadden or Bush and bring in some new blood through the draft, free agency or trade.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Jimmy Carter is the only submariner to become prez. The man SERVED in wartime, unlike Reagan, Nixon, Bush2, Clinton, Obama, LBJ, Cheney, you people, etc.

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider
  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Your anti-union crapola is laughable O. You really need to look into their role in creating the middle class last decade. Without unions, most jobs would be like Walmart work.

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Jimmy Carter passed more legislation than any president.Time was the 2 Houses could be respectable towards each-other but the publicans ruined that :)

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Souveniers are up in smoke.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Hell No you don’t need it!
    Why would a financal inst open in a land of unemployment, Crime, Unions, and no investments?

    No Boo for You!!

  • RaiderRockstar

    Dwight D. Eisenhower makes Jimmy Carter look like a coward…

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    not last decade, last CENTURY.

  • http://atm Raider O

    Hell No you don’t need it!
    Why would a financial inst open in a land of unemployment, Crime, Unions, and no investments?

    No Boo for You!!

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Vegas, now polls matter whe a Prez wants to do something? You think Dubya had the polls behind his tax cuts for millionaires? Or torture? Or No Tard Left Behind?

    The election was the poll that mattered. The public chose, and Obama is pushing through exactly what he campaigned on.

    And Jimmy Carter should be in the HOF.

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Dwight D. Eisenhower makes Jimmy Carter look like a coward…
    ————————
    By that logic Me & Bo make you look like a Coward, no?

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Hasta Yomama!

  • http://atm Raider O

    Bo,

    Without Unions, Organizations will have more to invest, and that creates more jobs.

    With unions, organization are going broke,Ford just opened a huge factory in south America , and people will lose their jobs!

  • RaiderRockstar

    BSJ: did you see the same UFO Carter did in 69?

    LOL

  • http://www.blogcdn.com/www.fanhouse.com/media/2008/04/desmond-howard-425-sm.jpg Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Did Kell just type “Me & Bo”?

    Now I really gotta go…

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Not 2 take sides but Joe Walsh is from Blohio lol

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    BSJ,

    You mean tax cuts for everybody, rich and poor?

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    Bo

    We both served in the military, no.

    Like Barack Obama, I like to find issues we can agree on. ;-)

  • RaiderRockstar

    By that logic Me & Bo make you look like a Coward, no?

    ***

    the day you make ANYBODY look like a coward let me know. you’re the one who challenged somebody from an internet blog to a fight and then backed down

    LOL!

  • http://blstb.msn.com/i/55/90A2853B6CFBCC2AFC987BB18B832.jpg vegas raider

    I meand I hate Dubya too, but here’s the link, every tax bracket was lowered:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_Growth_and_Tax_Relief_Reconciliation_Act_of_2001

  • http://ibbahttp://i380.photobucket.com/albums/oo249/the408RAIDER/749px-I-420svg.png 4evaRaider

    Dwight Eisenhower makes Jimmy Carter look ALIVE

  • http://atm Raider O

    Later you self entitled Mich Fan.

  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/antisocial-personality-disorder/DS00829 KoolKell

    RRS

    That’s not the way it was. I said 3:00, Brian said 6:00.

    Anyway that was stupid on my part.

    But they know where to find me.

    But, you cleverly evaded the logic. ;-)

  • RaiderRockstar

    new post Barack worshippers!

  • http://atm Raider O

    We should cut our loss and trade Mich Now! Let’s see if Canada or Mexico are interested.

  • Senior Beeecham

    Ah, the laughs & joy … ricochet … son ….

    I knew you were a cowardly little lamb and the blog doormat (welcome to the blog, now please enjoy kicking lil ric in the groin!), but I never thought you enjoyed melting down so spectacularly in front of me!

    I feel bad in a way, but then I realize how much fun it is to have you lapping at my pant leg, doing everything your little mind can think up to get my attention that I … well, I just soak it all in!

    I wonder if this is the way the Greek Gods felt?

    Anyway, my little poodle, when you came shuffling around earlier pleading with me to talk Raiders with you – and giving you a chance at acceptance – you were given permission to receive my teachings

    But now, like the truest of cowards, you post one of your pre made responses and run away in humiliation. Oh, it hurts to nailed, doesn’t it?

    So now here’s the important part – don’t pee yourself in your little cubicle out of fear. Like a big boy, get up and walk to bathroom – that’s the place where they stick your head in the toilet and then flush – and do your little man business there.

    Because the last thing a tiny fella like yourself trying to survive in the big world needs is being ostracized at work for messing his pants and breaking into tears.

    But, my minion in training … I love every minute it!!

  • http://CableBumaye 909RaiderLifer

    Bob Seger is from Mi.

    My Uncle used to live in Oh. (played golf with J. Nicklaus.)

    It’s a push.

  • http://www.raiderfans.net Richochet

    That’s it, Beech? lol…

    In other words, don’t mess with the big boys.

    I called your ass out at 1:00 above.
    Nay, challenged your sorryass.
    You posted a “don’t pick on me” reply…THEN LEFT.
    I challenged you again..yet what was your response?

    YOU DISAPPEARED FOR AN HOUR AND A HALF..and now show up with that sorry weak copout?

    Again, lil man, I’ll torch your inept uneducated shytefetish ass…guaranteed.

    Now is when you can beg off…AGAIN..or disappear…again.

    Offer is still there, lil man…admit you’re toast, or I’ll just keep calling you out, watching ya squirm.

    I have a question..how’s it feel knowing that between you AND Kell, you can’t amass a single, much less a pair of balls?

  • Pingback: The Michael Bush Conundrum | Raiders Football Talk

  • RaiderDebo

    vegas raider Says:
    February 25th, 2010 at 1:05 pm
    He got benched because he is a knucklehead.

    We all say the KC first half, if he played like that all year we might have been a .500 team.

    Someone in Raiderland had enough, and pulled the plug. Bruce almost pulled that one out too, if DHB would have just dropped the ball instead of knocking it in the air, Bruce would have delivered.

    We all know it.
    @@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

    I see. So now DHB hurt hurt your man-crush’s performance, but all JR’s issues are JR. Did we watch the same game?

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