One of the first moves Oakland Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie made when he came to the team was to trade for running back Mike Goodson from the Carolina Panthers. Oakland sent tackle Bruce Campbell to complete the trade. Goodson's role was to back-up starter Darren McFadden and he has fit well with the Raiders in his first season. Sunday, Goodson will return to Carolina for the first time.
“Anytime you get a chance to play a place that you’ve been, guys get more excited for those games,” Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer said of Goodson returning. “We know Goody is getting excited to go back there, he spent a lot of time there, so especially for him, we want to go there and play well.”
Earlier this season, it was Palmer returning to Cincinnati to face his former team for the first time, but came away with the loss. Now it's Goodson's turn. Last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Raiders had their best rushing effort of the year amassing 203 yards. Goodson put together his best game of the season carrying 13 times for 89 yards and earned the game ball from head coach Dennis Allen.
Despite missing four games with a high ankle sprain, the 6-0, 210 pound running back has excelled in his first year with the Raiders averaging 6.7 yards per carry. He is a natural fit for offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's zone blocking scheme and has even added 15 receptions for 187 yards and a 64 yard touchdown in week 2 against the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s not in his background, the zone-scheme, but he’s got great vision and he showed he can make the first guy miss in the hole, which is something you have to do in this scheme every once in a while,” Palmer said. “It seems like when he’s put in, he’s done it just about every single time.”
Oakland wants to be a team that wins with their running game. Goodson being productive while giving McFadden a break is crucial to that plan. In the four games the Raiders have won this season, three came when the team rushed for over 100 yards. That will be the recipe for success against the Panthers. Carolina will bring the 10th ranked passing defense into Sunday's match-up, but only the 17th ranked rushing defense allowing 117.9 yards per game. Goodson and McFadden will be major parts of the game plan this week, so Goodson will have an opportunity to play well against his former team.
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