Darren McFadden happy about return to power scheme


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.

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"That's why (offensive coordinator) Greg Olson and (offensive line coach) Tony Sparano are here," Allen said Sunday, via the San Francisco Chronicle.

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.