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CLEVELAND -– Maurice Jones-Drew was signed in free agency to shoulder a heavy workload.
Six games into the running back’s first season as a Raider, Jones-Drew has become an invisible man.
He had three touches is last week’s loss to Arizona, and hasn’t had more than five since returning from a hand injury three games ago.
Darren McFadden has taken over as the starter and has become the feature back. McFadden has been healthy and running hard in recent weeks, though he’s hovered around 3.4 yards per carry in each game save a Week 6 loss to San Diego.
“Darren [McFadden] has been running the football hard,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “We wanted to try to roll Maurice in there last week, and we got him in there some. But, the game dictated some of the things we were doing … We did roll him there in the course of that game.”
“Maurice was still getting healthy. I think he looks as healthy now as he has been in some time. He’s had a good week of practice. Darren has remained healthy, which is important. We continue to look at both of those guys.”
Jones-Drew is certainly frustrated by the snap count and his yardage –- he has just 48 yards on 18 carries -- but isn’t one to complain publicly. The Raiders are dead last in rushing offense and Jones-Drew has a long, productive history, so it couldn’t hurt to give Jones-Drew a shot.
Not sure if that’s going to happen soon. McFadden should continue to start and take the bulk of the carries, though the Raiders would like to see Jones-Drew get more involved.
“We need to get Maurice more snaps,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “I think the plan is to try to get him involved a little bit more if we can do that now. One of the things we have to do is in order to get people more snaps, we have to play more snaps. In the ballgame the other day, the ball was snapped 49 times and one of them was a kneel-down at the end of the half. So the ball was snapped 49 times, you’re not getting an awful lot of plays out there and that hurts you a little bit.
“We need to get him involved more and try to do that, and that takes a little bit off of Darren in some of those situations. It keeps both of those guys fresher. We need to be able to do that.”