Coming into every season the last five years, Oakland Raiders’ fans could expect two things; getting plenty of penalty flags thrown against them and Darren McFadden going down to injury. For the first few seasons of McFadden’s career he was backed up by Michael Bush who could easily replace McFadden’s production whenever he went down to injury. Last season Mike Goodson was actually more effective than McFadden in the zone blocking scheme and seemed to make the offense move fluidly when McFadden was down. Now that Bush and Goodson have both left the team the last two seasons, it is up to recently signed Rashad Jennings to fill McFadden’s shoes when he inevitably gets injured.
During his first two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars running back Rashad Jennings showed major promise backing up perennial pro-bowler Maurice Jones-Drew. Jennings had over five yards a carry for both seasons and it looked like he would be finding a starting job after his contract ended in north Florida.
Jennings bright career took a dramatic turn during his 3rd season as he suffered a concussion and then an injured knee during the preseason which knocked him out the whole year. Last season Jennings looked like he regained his form as a rising star in the league during the preseason as he won the Jaguars starting running back position after Jones-Drew held out. Unfortunately, Jennings looked like a shadow of himself as gained a meager 2.8 yards a carry.
Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie took little risk in signing Jennings to backup McFadden. However, it remains to be seen if Jennings has anything left in his tank. During training camp it was expected that Jennings would be in a dog fight with rookie Latavius Murray, however Murray was injured throughout the offseason and was placed on IR. The backup duties now fall to Rashad Jennings who has dealt with injury issues just like McFadden.
Throughout preseason, Jennings has shown flashes of being a capable running back. With a suspect offensive line and an unproven quarterback, expect the Raiders to run the ball frequently. Darren McFadden will get his fair share of carries but he cannot carry the load for the Raiders offense, so expect Jennings to get the opportunity to rush for at least 500 yards this season.