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ALAMEDA – Raiders running back Rashad Jennings has filled in well for Darren McFadden, maybe too well for the oft-injured star’s liking.
Jennings has stolen future carries after a pair of solid performances with McFadden out. Raiders coach Dennis Allen said Jennings has earned a bigger role, even when McFadden’s healthy.
Jennings has proven more durable, as physical and equally explosive while recording 283 yards total offense the past two weeks.
Could that prompt a changing of the guard? Could Jennings eclipse McFadden as a starter?
[RELATED: Will Jennings cut into McFadden's carries?]
“Oh, I don’t know,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “We’ll look at that. The key is, he’s going to get his touches because he’s earned them.”
Jennings has been a perfect compliment to a blocking scheme based on gap creation and gap control. He finds creases and explodes through them.
“I don’t think the line gets enough credit,” Jennings said. “Neither does the scheme. I’ve got room to work, and the whole unit is working well.”
That’s true, but Jennings is pulling his own weight. He’s fighting through tackles and churning out extra yards, averaging 3.2 yards after first contact these past two weeks.
That will ensure extra carries in the coming weeks. In games where McFadden has been healthy for four quarters, Jennings hasn’t exceeded four carries.
That should change.
Absolutely. It’s a production business and when he’s had the opportunity to go in there, he has produced. 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.”
It should give the Raiders toughness as games wear on and preserve McFadden’s health when he returns.
As always, Jennings deflects credit and accepts blame. He vowed to work as hard as he always has to improve and consequently help the team.
“You come to work every day and it’s good to be rewarded,” Jennings said. “The reward for me is just playing the game. It’s a little kid’s game, and I never lose sight of that. Whenever I get on the field, whether it’s on special teams or offense, I’m happy.
“I’m still growing as a player. I still feel like I left yardage on the field. I’m accountable to myself, and I’m more critical than anyone. I’m going to keep grinding and keep getting better.”