The last time Greg Knapp was the offensive coordinator of the Oakland Raiders, he had a rookie runningback with tons of potential, at his disposal. This time, as Knapp prepares for his second stint as the Raiders offensive coordinator, he has that same back, but now he is coming off of a break out season and looks like he is finally ready to be a premier back in the NFL.
That's right, Knapp was the offensive coordinator when McFadden first came into the league. At first, that gave me pause. I mean, we all agree that McFadden had a break out season in 2011. Thus, it made me wonder whether the coaches he played under before, were not using him correctly.
That thought process came to an end when I remembered the first Kansas City game in McFadden's rookie season. It was the second game of the season and McFadden went for 146 yards on the ground with one touchdown, averaging 7.8 yards per carry. He looked like he could be DOMINANT.
Then McFadden got turf toe, and never looked the same that rookie season. Now, with Knapp coming back to the Raiders, he has said that he believes McFadden is the perfect type of running back to play in his zone blocking scheme. "He doesn't mess around when he runs. When he makes a cut, he's going north and south. And he has the ability to go the distance any time the ball is in his hands" said Knapp.
For those of you not familiar with the zone blocking scheme, it is designed for a back to make one cut, then head up field, getting as many yards as possible in the process. This was the scheme that took Justin Fargas, a career back up, and made him look like a legitimate starter.
With McFadden's combination of speed and his discipline not to dance around in the back field, this truly could end up being a match made in heaven. Only time will tell, but Knapp is certainly excited to have McFadden in his backfield.