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Olson says Raiders intend to roll with ‘hot hand’

Darren McFadden made it through practice Tuesday without aggravating his hamstring injury. That makes two straight days without any setbacks. If he holds up in a light practice Wednesday, he’s likely going to play against the Dallas Cowboys.
How much McFadden plays, that’s anyone’s guess right now. One thing is for certain, the Raiders are not about to turn their back on Rashad Jennings after how well he performed the past four games.
“If Darren’s fully healthy, both of them will play and both of them will get their opportunities,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “But you can’t deny the fact that Rashad Jennings over the last month of the season has led the entire NFL in yards from scrimmage. So, he’s earned the right and deserves the right to continue to get his carries, continue to get his touches, and we’ll still do that.”
Jennings rushed for 413 yards the past four games. He also caught 15 passes for 140 yards during that stretch. McFadden missed all but a few plays in those four games. Now he’s ready to work his way back into the mix.
Only this time, the lead job isn’t McFadden’s by default as it has been for most of his six-year career whenever he returned from an injury.
Jennings is leading the league in yards after contact and his 5.1 yards per carry is way higher than McFadden’s 3.6. It’s obvious that Allen and offensive coordinator Greg Olson love Jennings’ toughness, decisiveness and willingness to do whatever it takes to help the Raiders succeed.
Olson said that he’ll figure out a way to get McFadden involved in the game plan against the Cowboys. But, make no mistake, the Raiders are sticking with what Olson calls “the hot hand” in Jennings as their primary back until further notice, if not the rest of the season.
“We’re obviously excited about Darren being back and we’re really excited about what Rashad Jennings has done here over the last month,” Olson said. “It will be nice to have a little bit of a two-headed horse back there with those guys running the football.”

– Rookie offensive tackle Menelik Watson also did not practice today, as it turned out. Allen said Watson has an illness, so the Raiders sent him home so that he could get some rest.

– The Raiders piped in noise during the latter part of practice today as a means of simulating what it’s going to be like Thursday. The Cowboys play in one of the largest, noisiest stadiums in the league.

– The Raiders are 0-7 against NFC teams during coach Dennis Allen’s two-year tenure. This is their final shot this season at beating an NFC team.
The Raiders lost to the Falcons, Saints, Buccaneers and Panthers in their four games against NFC teams last season. This season, the Raiders lost to the Giants, Redskins and Eagles from the NFC East.

– One of the perks of being the so-called America’s Team is that the Cowboys play one of their eight home games each season on Thanksgiving.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett downplayed the advantage it gives his team. However, consider that the Raiders will be on a plane and headed for Dallas at about the time they hit the practice field for the first time during a normal week.
“It’s obviously tough,” Allen said, “because normally you don’t even hit the practice field until Wednesday, that’s your first day of practice, and even on Wednesday guys are still trying to get back, so it’s tough, but that’s what the rules of the game are and we’ve got to get ready to go.”

– Allen confirmed that tight end Mychal Rivera cleared all the league-mandates tests for players that suffer a concussion. Cornerback Mike Jenkins isn’t quite there, but he is close.
“There’s one more little step where they’ve got to visit with him, but he should be cleared for the game,” Allen said of Jenkins.
Jenkins didn’t do much of note at practice during the media access window today. He was limited, according to the Raiders official injury report.
If there’s any way Jenkins can play, you can bet that he’s going to be on the field Thursday against the team that selected him in the first round of the 2008 NFL draft and employed him the past five seasons.
Garrett had nothing but nice things to say about Jenkins, even though the Cowboys phased out Jenkins last season after they drafted Morris Claiborne in the first round.
“We like Mike Jenkins a lot,” Garrett said. “He did a lot of really good things for us as a starter for a number of years here at the outside cornerback position and did a really good job the past couple years just playing through some different injuries he had.
“He showed his toughness and what kind of guy he is and we’ve certainly seen him on tape this year, playing for the Raiders and he’s continuing to play well.”

– Allen wasn’t about to get into specifics about what Jared Veldheer’s return to the Raiders does for the rest of his offensive line.
On the surface, it appears as if Khalif Barnes is going to move from left tackle and bump Lucas Nix to the bench once Veldheer steps in at left tackle.
Barnes has played left tackle during Veldheer’s absence the first 11 games. Now it appears as if Veldheer is going to make his 2013 debut Thursday.
“I really don’t want to get into specifics of what we’re going to do game plan-wise,” Allen said, “but I expect Jared to play some at left tackle, that’s for sure.”
Plenty of players stepped forward to speak about what it means to have Veldheer back on the field.
“It will be huge,” center Stefen Wisniewski said. “He’s one of our best linemen last year and having a guy like that back just raises the overall quality of the group.”
Jennings said he and others are amped about the prospect of having their offensive line at full strength for the first time this season.
“Oh, man, it’s huge,” Jennings said. “When you get your guys back at all positions, it helps the depth, it helps the morale and it helps mesh the offense line. It’s really going to help. When we get our unit back, everybody’s happy.”

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Steve Corkran

  • SaintKaufman

    Yikes!

  • Rico Stifler

    That trade sucks…….

    I got a team in a 14 teamer that is 9-3, but lost two straight recently thanks to Rodgers injury and Charles and then FJax being on bye. But my team is strong overall despite the fact we have four flex positions.

    QB: Rodgers, McGloin, Clemens, Ponder

    RB: Charles, FJax, Lamar Miller, Ingram, Derrick Johnson

    WR: Welker, Antonio Brown, Keenan Allen, Underwood, Harvin, Crabtree, Goodwin, L. Moore, David Nelson

    TE: Cook, Myers, Rivera

    D: Niners

    I had Mike James before he got hurt.

  • SaintKaufman

    What about offensive lineman scoring TD’s? Does that still count or do they fall under the ST/D dirty TD category?

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Then think about some or all of those FG’s beingTD’s!

  • RaidingTexas

    I would if I could stop thinking about those dropped passes.

  • Charlie

    SnB/ Autumn Wind
    You wonder why some of these guys even post.
    If all they have to say is negative they ought to become a Patriots fan.
    We are building this the right way (sustainable success for the long term) but it will take at least three years (2014) given the state if disrepair we were in when Reggie took the job.
    Then from the immediate gratification group you get the classic- “the game has changed and your experience is invalid”.
    I guess that is the only rebuttal when they have three years of following the Raiders and we each have 40+.
    Bovine droppings! Football is football.
    Reminds me of teenagers that question a parent’s ability to give good life coaching advice because the world is “so different now”.
    Then when they hit about 25 they start to value insight based upon real experience.
    Have a nice Thanksgiving everyone!
    Go Raiders!

  • SaintKaufman

    And get off my lawn!! :)

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Not to make too fine a point, but MoJo McGloin had nothing to do with Jenning’s little scamper, unless he laid a block or decoyed someone. Was he even on the field?

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Not a dirty D TD, but not as desirable.
    I wouldn’t mind TJones housing one on a return, either on his own or by scooping up a Ford fumble.

  • RaidingTexas

    Well he did say “& the Raiders offense”. One could argue that McGloin actually playing like a real QB helped set up the defense for Jenning’s scamper.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    My parents got smarter as I got older, but I’m still not so sure about you, Charlie.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Hey, I’m on board. We all know that.

  • SaintKaufman

    So if an offensive lineman had a better personality would his TD’s cease to be dirty? :)

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Is there a special prescription for those 20/20 hindsight glasses?

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    He’d have to have one heII of a personality. More than Arnold the pig.

  • SaintKaufman

    Charlie seems to think that years as a Raider fan count when really it’s years that you’ve been on this blog.

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Should the Raiders finish 4-12 again, I think Allen is gone. Even he agrees it’s aproduction business. I do not want another up and coming assistant or coordinator.
    Reggie needs to hire a head coach with head coaching experience, college or pro, or a coordinator with years of experience.

  • Davy Jones

    I’m not on the “Fire Reggie” bandwagon, but I’m not sold that you can’t judge him on his progress so far. The success story (if you can use those words with the current Raider team) has been FA, not the draft. Before you bring up McGloin or Streater, remember there is an FA at the end of UDFA. And though I’m hopeful that there will be a long term impact from Reggie’s 2013 draft picks, there has been almost no immediate impact- and some teams get both. Reason for concern headed into this year’s draft, especially if McGloin (or Pryor) doesn’t appear to be a long term starter. Just saying.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Vic Tafur
    ‏@VicTafur

    @wtbrowning Jennings is a free agent. He is having the contract year McFadden was supposed to be having.

    Ouch!

  • Rifflicks

    if you look at the timeline for the Reggie McKenzie hiring and his subsequent hiring of Dennis Allen, there wasn’t much of a coaching pool for Allen to hire from before the 2012 off season programs and training began …. I have completely written off last season as an assessment and evaluation process, and in all fairness with the resulting purging of the scholarships , and check cashers, plus the restoration of the salary cap, I see this season NOW as the first real year of transtion, and I see it taking 2 more to be a playoff contender.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    I’m always tempted to counter that by pointing out that he’s probably older than 3/4′s of the coaches and staffs in the NFL. Doesn’t mean he’s more knowledgable. Consider Kooky and Priest.

  • jumpnjiminy

    I liked Flutie when he played…he was screwed big time by buffalo.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    And me!

  • plunkhead

    The more time you spend here, the dumber you get

  • Rifflicks

    successful teams add 7 draft picks and a handful of free agents to a foundation of good, established players already on the roster.
    Reggie on the other hand didn’t inherit that foundation, nor enough money under the salary cap to build a new foundation….thus this transition will take longer.

  • SaintKaufman

    I aint as dumb as I thought I got.

  • SaintKaufman

    Judge, exhibit A and B.

  • SaintKaufman

    And the truth shall set you free! No, really Darren, you can go.

  • SaintKaufman

    Sounds about right. We’ll get there.

  • plunkhead

    Reg wont get any big names next year. He is working on depth and rewarding anyone who deserves it. He has to build through the draft.

  • SaintKaufman

    Hell yeah! Spread that money out, think of the future.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Whoever he get’s in FA will morph into one of the best ever at his position by the time Game One rolls around. Nature of the fan and this blog.

  • 10centsworth

    Sometimes you just talk plain common sense. Kudos to you…when you do.

  • Rifflicks

    the Raiders have around 55 million to spend next year

  • 10centsworth

    It skips a generation. My parents were smart, for example. then we got…

  • Rifflicks

    but talking common sense is no fun

  • The_Judge37

    Building through UDFA

  • 10centsworth

    Certainly a basis of truth in that.

  • plunkhead

    Veld/houston will eat some. Probaly sign some of the one year fellas up longer and go after some quality “cheaper” FA’s.
    Meddlesome Mark wants those books looking good so he may keep some and not spend it all

  • 10centsworth

    They are OLD?? I thought they were 13 or so. Shows what I know.

  • plunkhead

    But who knows? Veld/Houston may both want out in which case I still think reg has something else in mind rather then throwing big bucks at FAs

  • SnBG

    Everyone have a great Thanksgiving.

  • plunkhead

    Back at you and the rest of you

  • Rifflicks

    or 6th grade educations

  • 10centsworth

    It is difficult to understand just how complex the making up of that board is…and it starts anew the day after a draft. It’s amusing to see “experts” who watch a Div II game and come on here and tell us about the “beast” and get TOTALLY upset when the “beast” is not drafted. What is with this attachment/ego thing with college players? Anyone ever consider the millions of dollars spent by an NFL team on ACTUAL research, dynamics of salary cap, FA market, team needs? Blow your mind. Then, in a LOT of cases…its still just a crap shoot.

  • Rifflicks

    or backload the contracts for a smaller immediate Cap hit

  • Davy Jones

    Fair enough, but to say that it doesn’t matter that we haven’t yet seen an impact player out of 15 draft picks isn’t realistic. Other teams see immediate results, send rookies to the pro bowl. We didn’t, and anything else is a bird in the bush that we may never get. Want to see improvement from RM in the 2014 draft.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    You keep saying “immediate gratification” like some are expecting a Super Bowl run.
    We ARE IN LAST PLACE IN THE DIVISION. I am sorry, but no Raider fan should ever think it is acceptable to be behind the Chargers, Chiefs and Donkeys, for ANY REASON WHATSOEVER. Last place is not acceptable under any circumstances, especially in year 2!!!!
    My goal was about 7-8 wins.
    7 wins = respectable, doing a good job
    8 wins = exceeding expectations
    6 wins = slightly below expectations
    4 or 5 wins = not at all acceptable
    We will see where we end up

  • loyal

    Count me in as one who doesn’t understand how we (the Raiders) were able to work around the cap for years…….but now are in “cap/dead money hell”. Al always worked around the cap, granted he brought in the wrong players……..but worked the cap. FYI…… I’m fairly new to the blog……but have been a fan for 39yrs, missed 6 games in that time, had season tix w/my dad in the 70′s and my own in the 90′s &00′s.

  • Rifflicks

    it’s still a team game and there really isn’t a lot of rookies that can waltz into the NFL and excel on their own without a good supporting cast around them….which will take the Raiders a few years to develope