Part of the Bay Area News Group

Jack-of-all-trades Jennings a bright spot for Raiders on Sunday

By Steve Corkran
Sunday, September 29th, 2013 at 6:19 pm in Oakland Raiders.

OAKLAND – In a perfect world, Rashad Jennings doesn’t see much playing time for the Raiders. If he’s on the field a great deal, that signifies that a front-line player is injured.
Such was the case Sunday, when Jennings was called upon to fill in for running back Darren McFadden, who suffered a hamstring injury early in the first half of the Raiders 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins.
“The quote that always sticks with me, and I always share with people is, ‘When opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare for it,’ ” Jennings said. “So, you always got to see yourself as the guy.”
Jennings was “the guy” on several levels Sunday, standing out in a game in which the Raiders squandered a 14-0 lead, surrendered seven sacks and allowed a struggling Redskins team to get its first victory in four games.
He made his presence felt from the outset, before McFadden suffered his injury and Jennings touched the ball on offense for the first of 23 times.
Jennings burst through the line and blocked a Sav Rocca punt that teammate Jeremy Stewart recovered in the end zone for a Raiders touchdown.
“Ever since I met the cat, since (offseason) camp, all he does is show up and work,” left offensive tackle Khalif Barnes said. “Whatever role they ask him to do, he does it. So, that doesn’t surprise me at all.”
The Raiders signed Jennings this past offseason ostensibly as a replacement for running back Mike Goodson, who departed to the Jets via free agency.
In Jennings, they landed a veteran back that has the versatility to make a difference in several capacities. All of those were on display Sunday.
Several times Jennings came close to blocking Rocca’s punts. When he wasn’t playing special teams, Jennings was accounting for 116 of Oakland’s 298 yards offense.
He rushed 15 times for 45 yards and caught all eight passes thrown his way by Matt Flynn for 71 yards. By comparison, he touched the ball only nine times in Oakland’s first three games.
“He went in there and ran the ball hard,” coach Dennis Allen said. “He did an admirable job of filling in for McFadden.”
Allen preaches the next-man-up philosophy, meaning when someone goes down with injury, the backup has to be ready to perform on short notice.
Jennings grew accustomed to that role during his four seasons as the primary backup to Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville.
“It’s the mentality that you should have,” Jennings said. “There aren’t any say, per se, backups in the NFL. Those are the guys that are at home. Wherever they put me … I’m going to do whatever I can to help us win a football game.”
He came close Sunday. Barnes said the Raiders are plenty confident with Jennings playing a prominent role in the offense.
“He may not have the household name of an Adrian Peterson or Darren, but he runs hard like them,” Barnes said. “I’ll play with that guy any day of the week.”

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  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    Good points. Jimmy Graham will be too expensive. I could see Tate, Ward, Shields and possibly Hardy or Jared Allen (although he’d be 34, but Trace Armstrong played later and was fine – Allen has played consecutive years without missing games – he should be ok). Cousins will also cost a lot in picks. I’m still thinking its either Pryor and/or best QB avail. in 2014 draft.

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    Niners were garbage the entire 2003-2010 season. Raiders finished at the apex with better records 8-8, 8-8 – Niners breakthrough didnt come until Harbaugh took over.

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    even funnier are the so-called “fans” that chime in…

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    Hopefully Flynn turns it around – who knows?

  • Rico Stifler

    We’re looking to be about 50M or so under the cap. So, while Graham will for sure be expensive, we shouldn’t have any problem signing him as we will have more cap space than any team next year. Gronkowski got a 6-year, $54M extension last year. So, I think Graham would maybe command a 6-year, $60M deal . They’d likely back load his contract to make him count less against the cap in 2014 and 2015, big bonus upfront and smaller base salaries for the first two years as only the salaries plus the the bonus spread our over five years.

    In terms of Cousins, I’d do Pryor and a 3rd or 4th round pick. At most, I’d give two 3rd round picks for Cousins. I just think that cousins has a much better chance of being a franchise QB than Pryor does. If we can’t get Cousins in a trade, then I’d draft Bridgewater if possible or trade down and draft Derek Carr mid-late first round or possibly second round if he slips. Or i’d take Clowney and move up for Carr if he isn’t expected to be available in round two.

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    They have got to get over this injury thing – its absolutely killing them..seems like it strikes every year.

  • Rico Stifler

    yeah, definitely….

    Man, Graham with two more TDs tonight….

    We NEED Graham to help out whoever will be our new QB next year. Having a stud TE like Graham is a young QB’s best friend. That and a run game helps too.

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    would you say TE Jimmy Graham,DE JD Clowney, QB Kirk Cousins, WR James Jones and OG Jon Asamoah, ? Would that be a good offseason?

  • Rico Stifler

    I think it would be a solid B to B+. Asamoah would be a big boost to the OL at LG with Veldheer, Wiz and Watson at LT, C, and RT.

    Clowney is a beast. Nuff said. lol.

    Cousins has a ton of potential as a franchise QB, imo.

    Graham is a beast, nuff said. lol

    I think James Jones would be a great #2 WR. I don’t know how he’d be as a #1. Maybe we could either trade be into the first and get WR Sammy Watkins? Or try and sign WR Jeremy Maclin on the cheap also as he is coming off a torn ACL right now.

    Also, Alex Mack, a good young center, is in the last year of his deal. Sign him and Asamoah and move Wiz back to LG?

    Hulk-Wiz-Mack-Asamoah-Watson

  • Rico Stifler

    Not sure Saints can afford to re-sign graham. It looks like they might be over the cap after this season.

  • Rico Stifler

    Ugh. I had a nice long post but it’s not here… :( lol

    I’d be fine with those guys, Jonesy. I only question James Jones as our #1 cuz that’s what he’d be. I’m not sure if he has the ability to be a #1.I think he’d be best as a #2. Then we can either also sign Jeremy Maclin on the cheap cuz he’s recovering from ACL surgery or maybe try and trade back into the first round and draft WR Sammy Watkins.

    I’ve also been thinking of maybe signing Browns C Alex Mack. He’s a good young center. Then we’d move Wiz back to LG.

    Hulk-Wiz-Mack-Asamoah-Watson

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    Off season brilliance…but, a long way to go until then. Good list.

  • http://facebook.com/Unicron5 Samnificient Jonsey

    Wiz back to LG. What would you think of Reggie Bush returning to the West Coast? Maclin is tricky because he injured the same ACL twice.

  • Rico Stifler

    Thx. It’s easy to be a fan and say you want these things to happen. But it’s much harder in reality to actually make those things happen as a GM cuz there are so many variables to screw everything up.

    I am excited about the endless possibilities that come with having so much cap space to work with. TE Jimmy Graham is by far the main player I would love to see us sign. Simply cuz he’d have the biggest impact, imo, of any player that we could sign on either side of the ball.

  • Rico Stifler

    Bush signed a 4 year deal with the Lions. So doubtful he’d be coming back to the left coast. Also, Bush would need a complementary RB to me. He can’t 100% carry the load himself.

    Yeah, I’d sign Maclin if he is cheap cuz if the injuries to his knee. But he is a good WR when healthy.

  • Raider Al from Atlanta, Ga

    Worst LSU produced quarterbacks.
    Russell is 1A and Flynn is 1B. Both had great college stats. This is the NFL. You must prove yourself every week.

  • Raider Al from Atlanta, Ga

    That’s the hypocrisy of the NCAA. Ohio State did not have to return the gate revenue. Pryor has goten better every year since high school. The NFL has film on Flynn, He can’t move and plays scared. Third string QB at best. Mission accomplished. Enjoy your $6.5 million !