The Litmus Test in Oakland: Can the Running Game Rise to The Next Level?

If the phrase "running game" means anything to you, you have to look at Oakland and take a deep breath.

The presence is there for Darren McFadden and Michael Bush to rise to the next level.

The question is, can they?

The Raiders have had some had some truly great backs over the years. Bo Jackson, Marcus Allen, Kenny King, Mark Van Eeghan, Clem Daniels; all known for being punishing runners, although some are more notable than others.

Few can forget Bo's Kingdome show, or Marcus Allen pulling the plug on the Redskins in the Super Bowl.

In more recent years, tandem play has had some nice effects, with the Raiders relying on three styles of backs. You have a punishing back, who slowly wears down the defensive line. You have a shifty, finesse back who specializes on manipulating the gaps in the line. Lastly you have the goal line threat, who finds paydirt if all that is needed is three yards or less.

The most recent use of this as an effective tool was the triumvirate of Tyrone Wheatley, Charlie Garner, and Zack Crockett. While all three players spent little time in the silver and black, the three helped to move Oakland into the position of contenders.

Since the 2002 season,  rushing has been a mix of rookie experiments, veteran players brought in for the short term, and questionable coaching choices.

Justin Fargas was brought in as a draft pick, dating back to 2003. His best moments seemed to come as a last option for the Raiders, leading the team in rushing in 2006-08. Time and again, Fargas would leave it out on the field, while the team would bring in other players, such as LaMont Jordan and Dominic Rhodes.

How was Justin Fargas rewarded?

In two years, the Raiders picked up Michael Bush and Darren McFadden, in back-to-back drafts.

Granted, Justin was getting up there in years and in the NFL, as 30 seems to be a cutoff age for the ...

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