No starting NFL running back had fewer yards per carry last season than Darren McFadden's 3.27 average.
Oakland Raiders coach Dennis Allen essentially blamed the zone-blocking scheme for McFadden's woes and fired offensive coordinator Greg Knapp after just one season on the job. Allen now acknowledges that McFadden has been most effective in a downhill, power scheme.
McFadden never was a good fit for a zone-blocking scheme, which required him patiently to approach the offensive line and run sideways before cutting upfield. More decisive backup running back Mike Goodson averaged a gaudy 6.3 yards per carry in the same offense.
The return to a power scheme has McFadden anxious to get back to work.
"This is very exciting for me," McFadden said. "I am the type of guy who likes to go downhill, make a cut and go; that's my thing. We'll mix it up like we used to, and get some zones in there, but for the most part, I will be keeping my shoulders toward the line of scrimmage."
Although some pundits have called for the Oakland Raiders to shop the tailback, who's entering a contract season, and his $5.8 million salary in the middle of a painful rebuilding process, general manager Reggie McKenzie is open to extension talks before McFadden hits free agency.
"I'm looking forward to Darren McFadden having a great season this year," McKenzie said. He's a "north-south runner, not a lateral mover."
Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.