What Does Rashad Jennings Bring to the Oakland Raiders Offense?

With running back Darren McFadden still nursing a sore hamstring, the Oakland Raiders will look to Rashad Jennings to fill the absence in the backfield for their Week 5 game against San Diego if McFadden is unable to play.

Jennings filled in after McFadden was sidelined early in the first half of the Raiders’ 24-14 loss to the Washington Redskins last week. Although the running game went mostly silent in the second half, Jennings had 116 yards of total offense and led the team in receptions.

That pattern probably won’t change much versus the Chargers.

Whereas McFadden uses his breakaway speed to get the majority of his yardage on a handful of big plays, Jennings is more of a plodding, push-the-pile runner who is much more adept catching passes out of the backfield.

The contrast in styles between the two runners was evident early against the Redskins.

Although both gained the biggest chunk of their rushing yardage running between the two guards, McFadden had more success because he was able to find the open holes and get through them more quickly than Jennings.

On Oakland’s first play from scrimmage against Washington, for example, McFadden took a handoff from quarterback Matt Flynn and ran into the back of an offensive lineman before slipping through a gap on the left side for a 14-yard gain.

Conversely, the longest run Jennings had went for six yards. Most of his carries ended after two or three yards, and Oakland’s running game quickly dried up.

Part of that is because the Redskins were already stacking up to nine people in the box, essentially daring the Raiders to pass the ball. Once the early 14-point lead evaporated, the running game became less and less of a factor.

That doesn’t mean Jennings cannot be an effective runner. According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Jennings rushed for 45 yards in Week 4, but 3...

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