McFadden, DHB are out of the shadows


Darren McFadden and Darrius Heyward-Bey had their cover blown.

The 270- to 300-pound (depending on the week) solar eclipse that was JaMarcus Russell is gone, leaving McFadden and Heyward-Bey exposed as premium draft picks who haven’t produced anything close to premium results.

The good news is that unlike Russell, neither man has an aversion to hard work and both are dedicated to their craft.

McHey-Bey isn’t a quarterback, either, so the No. 4 and No. 7 picks in the 2008 and 2009 drafts don’t have to change plays at the line of scrimmage or be the central figure in every snap from center.

The demise of Russell in the eyes of Al Davis came when he was replaced as the starting quarterback by Bruce Gradkowski after 10 games. It was at that point Davis went from looking at Russell as “great” and with growing disdain for his indifference and hearing the rumors swirling about his love of the nightlife, told Tom Cable, “OK, you want Gradkowski? You’ve got him.”

When Gradkowski went down, next in line wasn’t Russell, but Charlie Frye. When Frye went down with a concussion and Russell led a comeback win over Denver, Russell still got no consideration. The end may have came Thursday, but it was clear at that point Russell was going to hit the road before the 2010 season.

The company line on McHey-Bey remains supportive.

When ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported McFadden could be traded on draft day, Cable moved swiftly to call the report “ridiculous” and said, “there’s no way. I don’t know how it came out. I don’t get it. There’s no way Darren McFadden was ever going to be traded from this football team.”

Cable promised reporters a dramatic difference in Heyward-Bey in a pre-draft press conference, raved about his work with 30-pound dumb bells, and talked him up again at the minicamp.

The Raiders have a lot riding on the remaining two-thirds of the triplets which were supposed to energize a sagging offense, and neither player has inspired much confidence based on their play.

McFadden looked in minicamp as he has always looked in practice. He’s quick to the corner, explosive and a skilled receiver. The problem has been contact, which has seen McFadden go down too easily and gotten him injured _ two huge issues for any running back.

Heyward-Bey indeed was more fluid in short and intermediate routes and on many plays appeared comfortable catching the ball away from his body, securing it, and then turning upfield. But there were still too many dropped passes.

One sequence was telling. Heyward-Bey streaked down the right sideline and when Charlie Frye’s pass came a bit short and to the inside, he simply kept on running. The pass fell to to turf, as if Heyward-Bey never saw the pass or simply didn’t make a move to get it.

A short time later, Kyle Boller launched a similar pattern to Louis Murphy, with the Alameda wind appearing to hold the ball up in flight. Murphy shifted gears, glided five yards to the inside and caught the ball in stride.

If McFadden can’t cut it with being a conventional 15- to 20-carry per game running back, the Raiders may at some point consider making him a Ronnie Harmon-style receiver out of the backfield, someone who can make a living with mismatches as a receiver and be a productive, explosive player.

They have no options with Heyward-Bey. He’s a receiver or else.

To be fair, he’s only in his second year, and there has been some progress.

Without Russell around as a magnet for all the draft bust criticism, McFadden and Heyward-Bey will be watched closely.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Nnamdi21

    Raiders4eve Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 7:59 pm
    About DMAC

    Head coach Tom Cable said staying healthy could be the key for the young back in 2010. “Every time he’s gotten himself going and had pretty good production, something has happened to either take him out of that game or not let him be as big a part in the next one,” Cable said at the Combine. “He’s a fine player, and as he’s able to stay healthy for longer periods of time, you’ll see more (of) what we all hope (for).


    He seems to go down with very little contact like he’s saving himself for a contract year or life after the Raiders.

    Campbell, like Russell, tends to hold the ball too long and not be able to pick a receiver.

    Both DMAC and Campbell NEED above average blocking.

    DMAC’s the type of runner who needs to be un touched to gain huge yards and break away TDs.

    Campbell needs that extra 1/4 second to get the ball out.

    Lets hope Gallery stays healthy.

    Satele’s improved his technique, awareness and reads.

    Morris remains a back up.

    Henderson can become the undisputed blind side protector.

    Khalif can command the right side and Campbell, Veldheer or Walker can land at RG,

  • PlunkforHOF

    I agree Nnamdi.. OL play is CRITICAL this year

  • Nnamdi21

    Graduation night for the kiddies enjoy the night Nation.

  • Nnamdi21

    PlunkforHOF Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 8:25 pm
    I agree Nnamdi.. OL play is CRITICAL this year


    Its gonna be make or break this year. We have some options and depth though and I like that Cable is wearing fewer hats. This year he’ll be able to work with the line a little more hopefully.

  • Nnamdi21

    Full back will be key as well.

    Been lacking since Oren and Griffith and even before.

    You spend a 4th overall, you need a LB blaster.

    Didn’t help that Satele struggles to get 2nd level. With out a proper blocking FB that really hurts.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Lots of time before camp to make some moves. We’ve done pretty well so far this offseason, IMO

  • Raiders4eve

    You guys are going to be surprised by the Raiders running game this year, Hue Jackson will implement schemes similar to what the Ravens did, I also think with a QB like Campbell, defense will no longer stack the line of scrimmage and respect Campbell long throw capabilities. I think Murphy will score plenty of touchdowns for us, he has the skills to become a #1 receiver in this league. The key will be Chaz Schilens remaining healthy, if he does, our running game will be fine. Pound it with Bush, run outside with DMAC and get play action working for touchdowns.

  • On the beach in Cancun

    Asomugha says the leadership role is in play, some major links have been placed into position and some potential bombs like Bush & McFadden are ready to explode. Don’t be too surprised if we go 9 and 7, maybe even a wild card berth. A wild card berth led us to a Super Bowl Ring in 1983. Ya, the Plunk has two Super Bowl rings, Flores has two Super bowl rings and they’re not even considered for Hall of Fame status. Explain that? (I guess the haters are everywhere.)

  • A wild card berth led us to a Super Bowl Ring in 1983.

    Cancun, you must be Beeecham. Only he would say something that uninformed. The Raiders won the division in 1983 with a 12-4 record. If you want to be a Raider fan, learn the history.

  • Seymour Bush

    mistabrOwn, can you NOT read, or do you trouble with reading COMPREHENSION? Which is is? Cause either you cannot read, or you do not understand what you read, or you do not understand what your five year old daughter reads to you. It is one of the three.

  • Seymour Bush

    MistaBrown Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 10:17 am

    DHB didnt play or even suit up the last 4 games, he was inactive with a mysterious foot injury, but you would have to watch Raider football to KNOW that!

    May 8th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    # Seymour Bush Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    I don’t know, if someone has two catches thru the lst five games and then has 7 catches and a score over his last five games, that seems like improvement to me. Now, I didn’t say massive improvement, that’s just more BS from the troll.

    Where does it say anything about the last four games of the season? Are you stupid, or do you need a monkey brain transplant just to communicate at even a third grade level? Seriously. I know children in the 2nd and 3rd grades that can communicate and have reading comprehension FAAAAR in advance that you will EVER HAVE mistabrOwn. That is PATHETIC.

  • spawn211

    you all crack me up , how sad

  • Seymour Bush

    Bronco Ron, what are you doing here? Defending the other braindead trolls I can see? Prepared to meltdown as usual? Have you had any chowmein tonight? That’s all you eat. That and egg rolls.

  • PlunkforHOF

    Ahhh well, here it goes again.. goodnight Nation

  • the_big_one_of_83

    lakers for all u haters

  • El Tato

    Charged Up & Ready to Rock and Roll in 2010 Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    I hate the Raiders.


    And we hate you

  • jhill

    We go 5-1 in the division this year, and might go 6-0.

    Only thing getting in our way is health.

  • jhill

    Really anxious to see the upgraded Oline with Walker at RT and Campbell at RG. Not to mention Gallery returning to health and Veldheer pushing Mario.

    I think Satele in year 2 is going to be much improved!

  • On the beach in Cancun

    A.B. Paine…My bad, wrong year. We did win a Super Bowl though, and as a wild card entry. Thanks for the correction.

  • SaintKaufman

    ‘Campbell to Miller’ is going to become a broken record this year. And that’s a good thing.

  • On the beach in Cancun

    Associated Press reported that Sean Payton isn’t interested in JaMoron, fat ass. “Payton says:” “It’s noteworthy when a top draft choice is released after only three seasons and that players like Russell often get a second chance in the NFL.”

    Ya, hopefully if he’s given a second chance it’s someone in our division.

  • coraider

    mcfadden is as soft as butter

  • AbusedByAl

    jhill Says:
    May 9th, 2010 at 8:35 am

    We go 5-1 in the division this year, and might go 6-0.

    Only thing getting in our way is health.


    …and San Diego, Denver and Kansas…