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McFadden hopes to get beyond hype

Darren McFadden has been nothing if not accommodating since his arrival after being the No. 4 overall pick in the 2008 draft.

He’s quicker with a smile than he is with his feet. McFadden is pleasant, agreeable and one of the Raiders best players in training camp in each of his three years.

McFadden has made his share of plays through seven practices, but realizes it’s time he carries it through to the regular season.

Through two seasons, McFadden has 217 carries for 856 yards. He missed time because of turf toe as a rookie and minor knee surgery last year, when he averaged just 3.4 yards per carry.

It’s not what anyone expected after McFadden rushed for 1,825 yards on 325 carries in 2007 for Arkansas in the rugged SEC, capping a three-year college career where he finished as the second-leading conference rusher behind Herschel Walker.

It’s certainly not what McFadden expected.

His excellent receiving skills and meager rushing totals make for natural speculation that he could become a specialty back, someone to attack the perimeter while leaving the hard inside yards for others.

“I want to show people I can go out there and run the ball,’’ McFadden said Sunday. “I know I haven’t had the type of season I wanted to have the last couple of years, but I want to go out there and show people I can run the ball and it’s not just a lot of hype.’’

Coach Tom Cable said McFadden’s biggest issue isn’t that goes down too easily, it’s that he has been slowed by injury each year.

“That’s one of the main things that’s hurt me, being injured, you know if you’re injured you’re not even going to be able to get a chance to show what you can do,’’ McFadden said. “I’m going to do my best to stay healthy out there.’’

As for the critics who suggest he simply doesn’t break enough tackles and goes down too easily, McFadden said, When I hear that, I just look right over it. I know what I can do when I get the football in my hands, so I don’t even worry about it.’’

More news, notes and observations before the afternoon practice begins:

– The consensus among draft experts was that middle linebacker Rolando McClain would certainly help the Raiders against the run, but it was speculated he could possibly be off the field in passing situations.

When the Raiders went to the first-team nickel defense Sunday, McClain was on the field, with Trevor Scott as the second linebacker. He showed in Saturday’s evening session an ability to properly gauge the depth on his pass routes and break to make a play.

In one 7-on-7, McClain stole a Jason Campbell pass with a perfectly timed break and headed the other way, and in a team session a short time later, nearly had another.

McClain is a football film junkie and was renowned for his preparation at Alabama, but it’s conceivable it’s more than that. Some players can watch film forever and still not, for the lack of a better term, “get it.’’

“It’s a little bit of everything, from film study and just knowing football, period,’’ McClain said. “I had a great coach in college (Nick Saban) who taught me how to recognize a route from where guys line up.

“I was able to do that when I got the interception. Really, I had no responsibility. I was drifting, I knew a guy was behind me and I had a safety over the top, so I just had to play under. Jason tried to throw it high over my head, but I’m 6-4 and I was able to get to the ball.’’

Campbell, to say the least, was impressed. To say the most, he was in awe.

“The guy is 6-4 with a 37-inch vertical,’’ Campbell said. “I have been throwing that pass ever since I have been in the league and he jumped as high as he could get and stretched out and caught it. It’s one of those interceptions where you really can’t even get mad because he made an outstanding play.

The guy is big, strong and can move, and you can tell playing under Saban he is a smart linebacker. Even if you look him off, he can tell what you’re trying to do.’’

Said Cable: “He does study, but he has a great feel for his depth and where he needs to be. He sees where the play starts and gets himself in a position where he can have the depth to get to those underneath balls.’’

– If first impressions are worth anything, Jacoby Ford is more than a guy who can simply run fast.

He hasn’t been perfect _ the most conspicuous drop was in front of Al Davis’ cart in Saturday’s second session. But he’s done a lot more than race downfield and hope to run under a rainbow.

Ford has drawn praise from Hue Jackson for pass routes, and during one practice session caught a sideline pass just before executing a perfect double-toe tap necessary for a catch in the professional game.

Cable said getting Ford to utilize his most prized attribute has paid off.

“He runs real fast, but the deal on him was he doesn’t play as fast as he runs, and I think we’re getting him to do that,’’ Cable said, noting Ford is getting out of routes much quicker than he did in college.

In attempting to set up corners in college, Ford said he slowed himself donw.

“I used to gauge my speed a little bit,’’ Ford said. “I’m not doing it anymore. They just want me to be fast all the time so that when I get the ball, I just go instead of kind of coasting a little bit.’’

– Campbell became aware of Zach Miller last season when as quarterback of the Redskins, he heard his defensive coaches talking about him.

“He was one of our main focuses _ know where No. 80 is all the time,’’ Campbell said.

Campbell is taking the same advice as quarterback of the Raiders.

“Zach doesn’t have a whole lot of speed that he can try and outrun someone, but he’s going to use his ability and knowledge knowing how to run routes to get himself open,’’ Campbell said. “You can have a 4.4 guy on him or a 4.3 guy on him and somehow he always gets open. It’s not about how fast you can run from point A to point B but it’s about the details of your route.’’

As for the guy who was drafted in large part because of his ability to run from point A to point B in a minimum amount of time, Campbell has liked the aggressiveness shown from second-year wideout Darrius Heyward-Bey.

“His timing and route-running has gotten a lot better since the beginning of OTAs,’’ Campbell said. “He is fighting for the football. He is going up and making some great catches. He’s putting himself out there and he has the opportunity to have a bright future because of his speed and his size. The guy has talent.’’

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Sweep The Leg.

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kidseven

    first?

  • CRACKRAIDER

    LETS GO RAIDERS!!!!!

  • Sweep The Leg.

    As for the critics who suggest he simply doesn’t break enough tackles and goes down too easily, McFadden said, When I hear that, I just look right over it. I know what I can do when I get the football in my hands, so I don’t even worry about it.’’

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

    We know what you can do, McFalldown.

  • http://raiderthoughts.com RaiderThoughts.com

    lets all pray to the injury Gods to leave us be…

  • HairyBush

    yo

  • aig-raiders

    Campbell, to say the least, was impressed. To say the most, he was in awe.

    “The guy is 6-4 with a 37-inch vertical,’’ Campbell said. “I have been throwing that pass ever since I have been in the league and he jumped as high as he could get and stretched out and caught it. It’s one of those interceptions where you really can’t even get mad because he made an outstanding play.

    The guy is big, strong and can move, and you can tell playing under Saban he is a smart linebacker. Even if you look him off, he can tell what you’re trying to do.’’

    Said Cable: “He does study, but he has a great feel for his depth and where he needs to be. He sees where the play starts and gets himself in a position where he can have the depth to get to those underneath balls.’’
    ——————

    This is the difference between Morrison and McClain. One can do amazing things and one can tackle 7 yards later.

  • Thec07

    Jerry awesome report… Nice to hear about JFORD, I expect him to do somegood things for the NATION….

  • aig-raiders

    Damn Thec, Jerry is giving you much love lately with the Ford writings. You may be right on this kid. I guess it was a matter of techniques that they needed to work on him.

  • J Wiggle

    Wassup Thec …

    Yeah, looks like Ford is going to make a claim for some reps at WR.

  • Nnamdi21

    Jerry Mac is the bestest…U truly rock and we appreciate it!

  • http://tada Florida Pete

    McClain is going to be the man on this defense…

    and this is going to be a very good defense…

  • Nnamdi21

    Thec07 Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 3:25 pm
    Jerry awesome report… Nice to hear about JFORD, I expect him to do somegood things for the NATION….

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

    I know! Sounds like his route running is getting better…

    Bad for Shil and Murph to be out, but good for Ford to get more reps. Maybe he can contribute in the regs on O?

  • On the beach in Cancun

    From the posting comments today, it’s obviously very slow. I guess most everyone is out there doing what they do on Sundays when they’re no NFL football games to watch. I think I’ll go and walk Mt Rubidoux (it’s a one-hour round trip in Riverside with a 360 degree view of the Inland Empire as you make the trip up and down).

    In a few more weeks I’ll have my Sundays occupied with Raider games. Like everyone here, I can hardly wait. I look forward to going to Event’s Sport bar in Riverside and log in some wins. It’s been hard the past seven years, as we (Raiders) loss so many more games than we won. That’s in the past and I feel (as many of you out there do) that this is finally the year we win more than 500, and just as importantly, that we beat the “dischargers” …the “Broncos” and the “Chiefs.”

    Go Raiders. 11 more days to our first preseason game! Wow.

  • J Wiggle

    It going to all come together when the pads go on tmw. Couple of BEASTS I’m looking to hear from!

  • Nnamdi21

    Florida Pete Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 3:34 pm
    McClain is going to be the man on this defense…

    and this is going to be a very good defense…

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

    Is it just me or does it seem like we’ve got some depth happening?

  • http://Noknuckleheads! 909RaiderLifer

    DMAC…

    Here’s a hint: Al likes touchdowns.. (and so do the rest of us!)

  • Thec07

    aig-raiders Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 3:30 pm
    Damn Thec, Jerry is giving you much love lately with the Ford writings. You may be right on this kid. I guess it was a matter of techniques that they needed to work on him.

    ++++++++++++==

    Right right….lol

  • Nnamdi21

    Man I wonder how bad Moreno’s injury is? AND Buckhalter. What ever it was, I wouldn’t run that drill again!

    Hate to see anyone get hurt, but not a fan of Broncos man…

  • Nnamdi21

    909. Word!

  • Thec07

    J-wigg, whatup??? Murhp, and Chaz out definetly helped the youngster get some shine. I would rather have both the Aces that are out balling. which maks it all the more important for JLH the team VET to step it the F up…

  • Thec07

    No-show has a torn hammy they aresaying 3-6 mons…

  • Thec07

    time to go to the batting cages and hit some fastballs…

    You guys enjoy the rest of the day…

    Great job Jerry keep up the good NATION work….

  • aig-raiders

    Thec,

    you know your football bro. Good job on predicting Ford.

  • Nnamdi21

    Hilarious back and forth with roomies DMC and Mike Bush fighting over the tv and nap times.

    Bush stole the batteries to the remote b4 they finally agreed on some thing both can watch. Then Bush upset cuz DMC ain’t even watchin’…

    DMC says “He trippin’…”

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Ex-Raiders Zack Crockett, Calvin Branch, now in personnel, here today. Never forget Zack’s instructions on how to roast a possum.

    *******************************

    Jerry, you got that recipe?

  • Nnamdi21

    26. Possum, Racoon, what have ye…I remember Crocket used to have the guys over for serious cajun cookin back in the day…

  • Nnamdi21

    aig-raiders Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 3:46 pm
    Thec,

    you know your football bro. Good job on predicting Ford.

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

    Word. Props Thec!

  • Just Fire Baby

    My reaction to Knowshon’s injury???

    Yes-Shon!!

  • Pingback: McClain working in Raiders nickel package | Fantasy Demon

  • the madbomber

    new guy from indiana! ready to see whats gonna pop off this year! if we stay healthy & get some run d going its gonna be good yr! hopefully the beginning of a return to greatness! back into the upper teir of nfl football!

  • Just Fire Baby

    Pain McClain = baller

    Defensive ROY barring any injuries.

  • J Wiggle

    Actually want to beat the teams best.

    Wish Knowshon was playing!

  • J Wiggle

    The whole “get it” film junkie angle is what’s most exciting about McClain to me.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Injuries happen, better them than us.

  • Nnamdi21

    J wig:

    Yeah, could be the D leader we need to QB this D!!! “You go there!” “Watch out for this!”

    Rock n roll baby!!!

  • J Wiggle

    “You go there!” “Watch out for this!”

    ——————————————————

    And most importantly, him knowing where he needs to be BEFORE the play actually develops.

  • DirtyBathWater

    whats up nation!! lets get this thing rolling! JMac your the mans thanks for the updates. I simply love the news about ford and McClain I cant wait for preseason

  • the madbomber

    havent had on field leaders since we lost gannon, i think thats the biggest thing wrong! nobody has taken charge, teams need leaders!

  • Raider E

    Its sunday, the a.m. session was “workman” like as per JMcD. Let these guys slow down, rest tonight, and put their gear on manyana. The competition, as well as the evaluation process begins….

  • J Wiggle

    Q: Marcel Reece has been here for a couple of years, how big is tomorrow for him when he starts blocking and hitting?

    Coach Cable: You kind of hit on the head, he came here as a wide receiver and so his transition to blocking being a lead blocker is critical and so tomorrow and everything following tomorrow is very important to him.

    ——————————————————

    There’s you’re fullback folks …

  • M Lonetree

    JWigg,

    play against the best play against not the best. it is only important for the Raiders to play their best. screw the competition and the zebras they ride in on.

    side note. Knowshon and Buckhalter going down two days after the Zedonks traded #3 RB JJ Arrington. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.

  • DirtyRaccoon

    Nnamdi21 Says:
    August 1st, 2010 at 3:47 pm
    26. Possum, Racoon, what have ye…I remember Crocket used to have the guys over for serious cajun cookin back in the day…

    *************

    Possums are roasted with hide on, so prepare a large pot of scalding
    hot water. Dip possum in it for a few minutes, then remove the hair
    by scraping with a dull knife, as you would scrape a hog. If some
    hair comes off hard, dip again in scalding (not hard-boiling) water.
    Wash with soap and water, then remove entrails, keeping washed liver.
    Remove head and tail (some people keep the head on). Soak in cold
    water to which is added 1 cup salt. Drain and rinse with boiling
    water. Stuff with possum stuffing, close the opening, and roast in
    black iron pot with a little water for 1-1/2 hours at 350. Baste
    often.
    possum is done.

  • Raider E

    We already know , for the most part, who is gonna make the first 40-45 players on the opening day roster. Anyon care to pick their own “personal favorite” underdod to make the squad? (“practice” not included.)

  • Raider E

    I am going with Manase Tonga.

  • Just Fire Baby

    Todd Watkins….or does he count?

    I think Sam Williams will still be around, and interested to see if Slade Norris plays as well as he did last year in preseason.

  • Just Fire Baby

    J,

    Does wanting to beat their best come into play when M34 KO’s the QB in the 2nd quarter?

  • http://tada Florida Pete

    it’s not going to be just McClain leading this defense…

    i think houston is going to step up bigtime…

    seymour will step up…

    i even think mitchell is going to have a voice…

    this is going to be a very good defense…

    and we finally have some goddam depth…

  • DirtyRaccoon

    It just donned on me, the J.J. Arrington trade + injurys paves the way for the Donks to sign Brian Westbrook….

  • Raider E

    Todd Watkins has hung on for 2 years now. He has a chance to make the 5-6 receiver spot. So yes, I would say he is without a doubt, an “underdog”.