ALAMEDA -- The smile that cracked Darren McFadden's face early Thursday afternoon?
It was wide enough for even him to run through…no matter the scheme.
The Raiders running back had just been asked about the new offense, which includes a scheme that plays better to his skill set. Much better than the zone-blocking scheme in which he faltered mightily last season.
"It's a downhill offense," McFadden said through his Cheshire cat grin at the Raiders' facility after a voluntary offseason workout.
"That's one of the main things I like about it. I'm the type of guy, I like to get going downhill off the back so I'm looking forward to it. I think it's going to be a great fit for our team."
Raiders center Stefen Wisniewski agreed.
"I think it will help him a ton," Wisniewski said. "I would expect a lot more production out of him. I’m not going to guess how much. I really think he’ll thrive in this."
A year ago, McFadden was slowed not only by Greg Knapp's offense, but injury…again. McFadden missed four games with a left ankle sprain and averaged a career-low 3.3 yards per carry, a year after averaging 5.4 yards per carry. A year earlier, he looked like a league MVP candidate…before a Lisfranc injury to his right foot cost him the final nine-plus games.
"I came in last year with my hopes super high," McFadden said. "They were just crushed. So I just wanted to put that behind me and move forward."
As do the Raiders. Now, McFadden should be the focal point of the offense with a new O.C. in Greg Olson. General manager Reggie McKenzie said as much in January.
"It's a great feeling that they have that confidence in me," McFadden said. "So I just want to go out there and prove to them on the field that I can do that, and just show them that I'm the type of player they think I'm capable of being."
He is also entering the final year of his contract, which will pay him a base salary of just over $5.856 million this season -- the highest base on the team -- with a salary cap number of more than $9.685 million.
McFadden was asked if he's had contract talks yet with the Raiders about extending his deal.
"I'm just, whatever they decide on me, I can't do nothing but roll with it," he said. "We haven't talked about anything. I'm a Raider right now and I'm playing football and preparing for the season. That's all I can do right now.
"I'm just going to play football. When it's time to take care of that, we'll take care of that then."