Part of the Bay Area News Group

McFadden, DHB are out of the shadows

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Friday, May 7th, 2010 at 8:41 am in Oakland Raiders.

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.

  • Share/Bookmark

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • RaiderRon

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! @ #549.

  • Plunketthead

    RR Let me guess.
    If Al retires, the Raiders will return to greatness and not untill?

  • the_big_one_of_83

    What do I think?? I think your a dreamer. I think you ignore facts when you start typing on your keyboard. I think you VASTLY ovverate the talent on theis Raider team which makes you make foolish predictions. The Raiders are nowhere near the Chargers level and to suggest they will over take them in the West is foolhardy to say the least. Please tell me what makes you think the Raiders will be a better team than the Chargers.

    no charger fans on this site scram i think the raiders will win the west because lt gone cromartie gone no true WR besides jackson

  • Raiders4eve

    Ron

    We already discussed that b4, I proved you how Denver lost so many talents and now you want me to prove why the Chargers arent as strong as they used to be???

    Why should I even engage to with any discussions with an idiot like yourself, I am cool, I got many raider fan believers, hypocrites like you is whats not needed in this blog, you a fool, why even claim you a raider fan???????

  • Raiders4eve

    RaiderRon

    Are you RMR? you type like him. Open up and just say you are!!!

  • the_big_one_of_83

    say ron u r a undercover charger fan arent you go beat off on your own web site charger ron

  • RaiderRon

    I will wait for one of you to tell me how the Raiders are better than the Chargers……….

  • the_big_one_of_83

    we will never take down the chargers says charger ron yeah right the jets good season started at the draft with them getting sanchez then they traded for a so called pass droper called b edwards so go blow your own horn alone

  • fat kidd

    the raiders will win the afc west because i say they will,if you dont like it go to pft with koolkell

  • the_big_one_of_83

    they lost alot of key pieces this offseason charger ron no big NT no shutdown CB no LT to tell them how to destroy us plus with his own guys norv turner sucks

  • RaiderRon

    LOL!!!!!!!! So far, bout what I expected.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    merriman wants out shall i go on

  • SteveAlford21

    I just watched the season opener from last year. Actually, that’s not entirely true… I stopped it in the 4th quarter and haven’t finished it yet. JaMarcus has missed about six open shots at receivers for big gains so far in the game, at least two of them that would have been either a touchdown or inside the five. This is not even counting the pass that was called a touchdown to Murphy, then overturned (incorrectly) before the end of the first half. It is also not counting the passes that were CLOSE, but incomplete. I am only referring to passes that were WAY off the mark and would have kept drives alive inside the opponent’s 35 and would have DEFINITELY ended with points.

    That was LAST YEAR’s team. They barely lost that game… and if there had been a competent QB (not great, just good enough to hit open receivers instead of throwing it 20 yards over their heads), that game would have been a 20 point win for the Raiders. If you don’t believe me, go watch the game again. Golic and Young were talking about how amazing it was that the Raiders were dominating so much, but it was still a tie game. They kept talking about the missed chances based on the drives failing to culminate in points because JaMarcus kept failing to make NFL throws.

    With the improvements that the Raiders have made this offseason, I believe that we are a much better team than the ’09 model. Injuries to the OL brought a lot of pain. I still want the OL to be upgraded, but we could see in that first game that they were capable not only of controlling DL and making HUGE holes, but also of giving the QB enough time to get the ball out to a receiver who had gotten free. Nevertheless, when everyone was healthy, the ’09 Raiders were BARELY behind SD, if at all. I think that if Campbell or Gradkowski can perform to the level of “decent starter” and we get healthy, consistent OL work, then we win 8-11 games THIS YEAR.

    I’m not being delusional, Ron… go watch that first SD game again. There’s a reason that everyone in the NFL and in the press talked so much about “The Raiders are REAL” after that game. The buzz stopped and things fell apart due to OL injuries, DHB’s drops, and JR’s HORRIBLE play for every game AFTER the opener… but every analyst, announcer, columnist, reporter, and tv personality couldn’t stop talking about how the Raiders (mostly JR) gave away that first game and should have beaten S.D. by rights. We had their number, but JR’s failure to perform even the basics of the job kept us from geting a big lead early and putting the game away by the midway point of the 3rd Quarter.

    We held SD to TEN points through most of the 4th Quarter… and those came because of two big plays, otherwise, the D had shut them down totally. The only aspect of the game where they had any reasonable success was on two returns by Sproles… but we had some GREAT stops of him for loss on returns, too… so it’s pretty much moot. Anyway, the point is this: you need to watch that game again before passing judgment on whether or not the Raiders have caught up with the Chargers. The ’09 team was there. The ’10 team is far and away and improved model.

    We probably won’t win the division, but we’ll split the season series with SD at least… and if we DO win the division, it won’t be a surprise to me. We will contend for the wildcard at worst.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    man these fake raider fans kill me with this charger BS f the rest of the AFC west

  • Raiders4eve

    Chargers weakness

    NO NT, Cam Thomas being getting grilled so far,
    No Wrs besides Jackson, he might get suspended if he drinks and drives again
    No cohesiveness, many players feel that the GM AJ Smith is being arrogant in treating his players. Merriman might find himself in the bench, no CB, the OL is still weak, Rivers is the only strong point.

    With JR, SD barely beat us last year, we this new Raider and improved Run defense, we will win easily both games, now get off my nuts and peace out hater.

  • Raiders4eve

    Steve

    Its not even that, SD has been regressing the past years, they really are on the verge of losing many players, their strength use to be team cohesiveness and now with LT, Cromartie, Merriman, Williams, McNeal and many more players disgruntled or traded from the team due to contract disputes, this team is losing their identity. Then there is also stadium problems with the whole city and chances of moving the Franchise to L.A. Chargers are old news, Raiders are the new news this year.

  • Nnamdi21

    Raiders4eve Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 4:37 pm
    Steve

    Its not even that, SD has been regressing the past years, they really are on the verge of losing many players, their strength use to be team cohesiveness and now with LT, Cromartie, Merriman, Williams, McNeal and many more players disgruntled or traded from the team due to contract disputes, this team is losing their identity. Then there is also stadium problems with the whole city and chances of moving the Franchise to L.A. Chargers are old news, Raiders are the new news this year.

    ==============

    Chargers, old and busted. Raiders, new hotness.

  • BigTed707

    #542

    The Bengals take the division and a wildcard?!
    What about Flacco?

  • Raiders4eve

    My bad, I meant the Ravens wins and the Bengals get the wild card

  • Nnamdi21

    565. Raiders destroyed the Chargers that night. With Seymour’s suprise arrival the D played really well except for key and crucial break downs.

    Offense did what it has for years. Failed to capitalize and keep the D off the field.

    Raiders actually put up points though. Russell wasn’t up to par but made some key throws to keep us in it.

    Golic was raving about Oaklands D dominating with old school formations not seen in 25-30 years.

    Inspired, that type of D will work. IF everyone minds their gaps and responsibilities.

    Thats where McClain comes in.

  • ssnake12

    Chargers are still gonna be tough, but we weren’t that far behind them last year, and the have declined. Let’s go Raiders!!!

  • BigTed707

    We just gotta dominate the AFC west and the NFC west this year, and we will have 10 wins. It ain’t unimaginable.

  • BigTed707

    If we only win one game this season, I hope it is on Oct. 17th!

  • Raiders4eve

    Its simple 1+1=2 math in seeing how we are currently a better team then the Chargers.

    We addressed many weakness, QB,OL,MLB,DT,C and etc. The Chargers hasn’t, they made a big mistake trading up for a rookie RB to replace LT by giving up 3rd and 4th round picks. They drafted an inside LB when they clearly needed an outside. They got Cam Thomas a steal at fifth round but as I read, he is been struggling to even line up in the mini camp.

    We play them well last year, they didnt blow us off even at their home we lost 24-16 with JaBust having a bad game 14 of 22 for only 109 yards plus Int, can’t even remember how we scored 16 pts with that idiot QB.

    Having Campbell, we wont see such performances and we will win the Chargers.

  • the_big_one_of_83

    go lakers

  • Raiders4eve

    last year, we had Jano kicking points after points.

    This year will have a QB who can score more then 20 tds for us, that means we can expect at least one touch down per game from Campbell. SD Chargers will lose against us this year.

  • fat kidd

    we will win the afc west because the stars and planets are in perfect alignment for us to win

  • RaiderRon

    I wonder if ALL NFL teams have such dillusional fans?? I really wonder about the mental capacity of a few of you. If you break down the AFC West position by position the Raiders do not stack up well at all.

    QB- Chargers have the best, by far. Campbell, Orton and Cassell are all on the same level.

    RB- The Raiders are the worst.

    WR- Raiders are the worst.

    TE- Raiders come in second.

    OL- Raiders are the worst.

    DL- Raiders probably are second.

    LB- Raiders are nearly the worst.

    DB- Raiders have 21 and 33. The rest are just guys

    STs- Best P. One of the better K. The rest is suspect.

    Coaching- Raiders are worst and its not close.

    All these factors add up to another 10 loss season.

  • BigTed707

    More Ron! Thanks for the encouraging words!

  • fat kidd

    RaiderRon Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 5:13 pm
    I wonder if ALL NFL teams have such dillusional fans?? I really wonder about the mental capacity of a few of you. If you break down the AFC West position by position the Raiders do not stack up well at all.

    QB- Chargers have the best, by far. Campbell, Orton and Cassell are all on the same level.

    RB- The Raiders are the worst.

    WR- Raiders are the worst.

    TE- Raiders come in second.

    OL- Raiders are the worst.

    DL- Raiders probably are second.

    LB- Raiders are nearly the worst.

    DB- Raiders have 21 and 33. The rest are just guys

    STs- Best P. One of the better K. The rest is suspect.

    Coaching- Raiders are worst and its not close.

    All these factors add up to another 10 loss season.

    Leave a Reply
    ……………………………consider rehab once the junk is out of your system you will see a better team like us not on anything

  • fat kidd

    now that j russell is gone the local eateries around the stadium will face hardship,the soft pretzel guy cried,the hotdog vendor is on a suicide watch,white castle considering chapter 11

  • RaiderRon

    What??? No one could come up with a rational argument to my post??? SHOCKER!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

  • spawn211

    NOW ITS TIME TO LOCK UP SEYMOUR

  • fat kidd

    RaiderRon Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    What??? No one could come up with a rational argument to my post??? SHOCKER!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

    …………………………………i have a rational argument to your 10 loss prediction ,you are looking at it as if after the draft we are done with personnel changes for the season,two weeks from now we could add players such as T.O. ,Kevin mawae,flozell adams,we still could make trades,pick up players other teams release,we far from done.

  • SteveAlford21

    Ron,

    I addressed you more than rationally, with a LONG post full of points. You chose to ignore it because it proves your point invalid. After ignoring it, you claim that no one has paid attention to you and can’t refute what you said, even though I already did. You are a sad, pathetic little troll, the likes of which is only rivaled by RMR.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I3ng4yHw2xk&feature=PlayList&p=E565EF0DE2F587FA&playnext= Raider75

    Anyone watching UFC tonight?

  • fat kidd

    Joey Chestnut Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Eating Contest by eating 68 hot dogs and buns in 10 minutes, 3 1/2 more than Takeru Kobayashi of Japan, his arch-rival was challenged today by ex-raider QB jamarcus russell ,who said 68 hot dogs thats a snack to me.

  • Plunketthead

    Steve
    That was a good post, mr/rr does not have a responce

  • SteveAlford21

    Okay, people… I have to go to a graduation party. Have a good night, everyone. Go Raiders!

  • fat kidd

    SteveAlford21 Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 6:24 pm
    Okay, people… I have to go to a graduation party. Have a good night, everyone. Go Raiders!

    first person in his family to get past the 4th grade,big night

  • On the beach in Cancun

    Jerry…we need a new topic, even the trolls and haters are getting redundant…with their predictions of doom and glum four months before the opening game. If they had any clue, they wouldn’t be on a Raiders blog trying to impress us with their football knowledge and off the wall comments.

    All of these trolls and haters need to sit back and relax, enjoy life and realize that blogging on our site speaks little towards their stroked ego’s. Hey, take a few days off, fly down to Cancun, enjoy the aqua blue warm water and the white sandy beaches, and all the beautiful women from all over the world vacationing in this tropical paradise. Enjoy the music and the food and the drinks…nothing wrong with a large margarita or a bucket of ice cold beers. Enjoy…GO RAIDERS!

  • http://chargers.com Charged Up & Ready to Rock and Roll in 2010

    Beeecham, you’re in Cancun now? What happened to your hot tub?

  • PlunkforHOF

    Man what a load of name-calling crap to have to wade thru! There are 4 or 5 people here who seem to hate the Raiders as much as they hate life itself. What sad, pathetic lives they must lead, thinking their petty little insults matter in the least. One of them was trying to rip on Steve, who seems to have a pretty good handle on the game of football. And he handled it like a champ.

  • http://chargers.com Charged Up & Ready to Rock and Roll in 2010

    I hate the Raiders.

  • PlunkforHOF

    I rest my case

  • http://tada Florida Pete

    Charged Up & Ready to Rock and Roll in 2010 Says:
    May 8th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Beeecham, you’re in Cancun now? What happened to your hot tub?

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Beecham is lying his asz off…

    his “hot tub” is nothing more than a small swimming pool in the back of his stretch limo…

    it’s “solar” heated…

    hot tub my asz…

  • Raiders4eve

    I really like the seventh round kid named Stevie Brown. He played Outside LB and can play SS, he can play ST and take Eugene spot in the team, I think he can add more weight to his frame. Hopefully, he doesnt get cut.

  • Raiders4eve

    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).

  • Nnamdi21

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

    ===========

    They hate you back Discharger

  • Sweep The Leg.

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

    I hate the Raiders.
    ==================================================

    Good.