ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez predicts Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden will start over Maurice Jones-Drew in Week 1.
The 26-year-old McFadden, who fought a cranky hamstring throughout 2013, inked a one-year deal worth up to $4 million on March 11 to remain a Raider.
McFadden, who can complete the 40-yard dash in 4.33 seconds, handled the pigskin 114 times for 379 yards and five scores over 10 contests last autumn.
A former barroom brawler, DMC also snagged 17 passes for 108 yards.
However, to complement the fragile McFadden, Oakland added the 29-year-old Jones-Drew to their roster last month.
Jones-Drew, who performed with a surgically repaired foot and also battled a balky hamstring, rushed 234 times for 803 yards and five touchdowns over 15 games as a Jacksonville Jaguar.
A three-time All-Pro who captured the 2011 NFL rushing crown, the past Bruin caught 43 balls for 314 yards.
The Jaguars went 4-12 and owned the league’s most inept offense.
Therefore, Jones-Drew’s substandard stats are misleading.
Meanwhile, Oakland finished in the basement of the AFC West and fielded the 24th ranked attack.
Fortunately for Raiders fans, Jones-Drew and McFadden could team to create an explosive backfield.
However, as a human chandelier, McFadden will certainly get injured and miss time on the gridiron.
Football is a collision sport and it’s unfair to criticize a player for getting hurt.
Nevertheless, even if Darren McFadden opens as Oakland’s runner, Maurice Jones-Drew will finish 2014 as the Raiders’ featured carrier.by