The Raiders and Jaguars will be looking to get their lead running backs on track Sunday, with Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew both looking for a big day.
McFadden, coming off a season where he averaged 3.3 yards per carry and played sparingly in the preseason, had 48 yards on 17 carries against Indianapolis. Jones-Drew had 45 yards on 15 carries, not exactly what he had in mind after missing much of the 2012 season after an injury in Oakland against the Raiders.
Raiders coach Dennis Allen, who has been fielding questions about McFadden’s production since camp began, wasn’t about to express concern after one game.
“There’s going to be times when we turn around and hand the ball to Darren and give him an opportunity that he knows he’s running the football,” Allen said. “Darren’s going to be fine, guys. Everybody’s got a lot of concern about that, but Darren’s going to be fine.”
McFadden, when speaking to reporters Friday, expressed no concern and thinks Terrelle Pryor’s running ability will only open things up in terms of the running game.
Jones-Drew, who played locally at De La Salle High School, has 146 yards and a 3.6 yards per carry average in West Coast games against the Raiders, Seahawks, Chargers and 49ers.
Asked how he would approach things differently in his home area on a conference call with Bay Area reporters, Jones-Drew said, “I’m not talking to anyone in my family until after the game, how about that?”
McFadden can probably relate to Jones-Drew’s first-game struggles in that the Jaguars have switched to a zone blocking scheme this season. McFadden has struggled mightily in that scheme _ which was de-emphasizes this season for power-gap blocking. Seahawks coach Gus
Bradley acknowledged Jones-Drew is still getting adjusted, but also said the running back had excelled with a zone scheme at UCLA.
Like McFadden last season, Jones-Drew is embracing the scheme change publicly.
“Both schemes are fine,” Jones-Drew said by conference call. “You just have to get comfortable with it. It was a little different for me doing it last week and I have to stay patient. We’ve made corrections and harped on ‘em in practice and I feel confident in our ability to run the ball.”