With so much talk (mostly negative) of the Raiders during the preseason, McFadden just did his thing. He hardly talked to the media, (even after Shaun King blasted him) and he barely played in the exhibition games.
He was quiet as a mouse. Exactly what the Raiders needed.
Oakland was surrounded in quarterback controversy and the defense was shredded in the preseason. The team looked dismal, all the while McFadden just practiced hard and prepared for the season opener.
He will without a doubt be the workhorse of the team this year. Not much is expected to go well for the Raiders in 2013, and McFadden is entering a contract year.
As if that wasn't enough to get him going, Oakland made the transition back to the power-blocking scheme where McFadden flourished in 2010 and 2011. Last year under the zone-blocking scheme, well, let's just say McFadden would like to forget about it altogether.
The Raiders need to get off to a strong start in Week 1. It's very doubtful they'll beat the Colts, but that doesn't mean McFadden won't come up huge for the Raiders. Here's why:
He Has a History of Having Big Week 1s
McFadden has totaled 100 yards in his last three season openers. And in 2009 he finished with 93 yards.
He has a history of starting the season extremely well, and the Raiders are hoping he can do that against the Colts. The rest of McFadden's season may not be as strong as Oakland would like, but no one can say he doesn't put up numbers in Week 1.
Whether it's rushing for 150 yards like he did against Denver in 2011 or catching for 86 yards against San Diego in 2012, McFadden is always relevant when it comes to openers.
The Colts Run Defense is Terrible
The Colts may have had a phenomenal offense last season, but their defense was just pitiful.
Indianapolis gave up 137.5 yards per game on the ground last year, good enough for 29th in the NFL, and there's no reason to think it should be significantly better this year.
Visiting opponents rushed for at least 100 yards in half of Indy's home games last season, including two times where they ran for 150 yards.
This bodes well for McFadden.
The Inexperience of Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor finished last season as the starting quarterback, and now he begins this season as the starting quarterback.
Though he's made significant strides in his game by becoming more of a passer than a runner, he is still incredibly raw. He gives Oakland a better chance to win that Matt Flynn does, especially with a very unstable offensive line.
Having said that, it's hard to expect a guy with just one career start to be able to right the ship so early.
The Raiders will lean heavily on McFadden in Week 1, and most likely throughout the rest of the season. The more active he is, the more he'll be able to rack up the yards and, for Oakland's sake, some touchdowns.
Steven Slivka is a freelance writer for the Oakland Raiders. You can follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Oakland Raiders
- Indianapolis Colts
- Darren McFadden