The lone offensive bright spot in the Oakland Raiders 24-20 loss to the New York Giants was back-up running back Rashad Jennings. With starter Darren McFadden unable to go for the second time this season, Jennings stepped forward and made a positive impact. With McFadden unable to play a full season in his six year career, Jennings will be a key cog going forward.
At this point McFadden cannot be counted on. He is battling a hamstring injury and re-aggravated it in the first half of the Philadelphia Eagles game. Every time Jennings has been asked to fill in, he has played well. He has three games this season where he has combined for more than 100 yards rushing and receiving. When McFadden left against the Washington Redskins, Jennings came in and rushed for 45 yards while catching eight passes for 71 yards. In the Eagles game, he spelled McFadden again rushing for 102 yards while catching seven passes for 74 yards. Last week in New York, Jennings ran 20 times for 88 yards. The play calling went away from him late and it proved to be a huge mistake.
“I thought Rashad Jennings did an outstanding job of coming in and running the football,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “It’s a production business and when he’s had the opportunity to go in there, he’s produced. And when you do that you get more opportunities. So I was very pleased with the way he ran the football in the game the other day.”
Jennings has proven he can be a valuable part of the offense. His emergence comes at a good time because McFadden is on the shelf and quarterback Terrelle Pryor is dealing with a knee issue. The knee affected Pryor in the Giants game, so Jennings may be in store for more of a work load this week against the Houston Texans. He runs with purpose and power which is exactly what the Raiders need. The offensive line has problems in pass protection, but getting them firing off the ball early to open lanes for Jennings could settle them as the game progresses.
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