How Important Is Darren McFadden to the Oakland Raiders Offense?

If Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden is healthy and playing in a man-blocking scheme, he’s a dynamic player. The Raiders lack dynamic players, so keeping McFadden healthy and productive is presumably one of the keys to their season.

Oakland’s offensive coordinator and his zone-blocking scheme were jettisoned this offseason because McFadden proved to be a poor fit. The running game was actually productive when McFadden was out, but the Raiders still made wholesale changes so they could get him on track.

Obviously, the Raiders think McFadden is an important part of their offense, and if he’s productive they will win more games. How important McFadden is to the offense really depends on the perspective.

It’s easy to say that McFadden is vitally important to the Raiders offense as if it’s some sort of common knowledge. I’ve done it; no one is going to question that perspective. Even if this is true, it doesn’t really quantify how important he is to the offense.

Outside of the quarterback, there are five ball-eligible players on the field at any given time. That means the offensive production must be divided by at least five and probably six players. Most teams have at least six players with 50 or more touches, so a player that produces 15 percent of his team’s offensive yards or touchdowns would theoretically be average.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson produced 43 percent of his team’s offensive yards and 38 percent of their touchdowns. Suffice it to say that Peterson was a very important player for the Vikings in 2012. Many of the top receivers and running backs in the league produce upwards of 30 percent of their team’s yards and/or touchdowns.

To compare McFadden, we can only take the yards and points scored when he was actually able to play. McFadden produced 23.9 percent of the Raiders’ yards in 2012 and...

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