The Oakland Raiders will be without their most important player when the Denver Broncos come to town this weekend. Darren McFadden is not only the Raiders best player, he is one of the best running backs in the league this season. Unfortunately for the Raiders, McFadden is also one of the more injury prone players in the league as well.
McFadden left the Kansas City Chiefs game early in the first quarter due to a sprained foot. However, despite his early departure, the Raiders running game really did not suffer much as Michael Bush put up 99 yards on 17 carries for an impressive average of 4.8 yards per carry.
Now, with McFadden set to miss the Broncos game, Michael Bush and rookie speedster Taiwan Jones will need to once again pick up the slack for the Raiders in the run game. Bush has showed this season, and in seasons past, that he is one of, if not the best back up running back in the NFL. Unfortunately, he is also somewhat limited. He is an in between the tackles running back. While he does have more speed than you would guess when you first look at him, he is not the type of back that can take a ball wide and beat a linebacker to the sideline for a big gain.
That is where Taiwan Jones comes in. Bush should start and receive the majority of touches against the Broncos, and he will get a large number of touches. However, in order to prevent the Broncos defense from stacking the box and stuffing the middle of the line on every play, Hue Jackson would be wise to use the speed of Taiwan Jones to stretch the defense horizontally. Jones has an impressive amount of speed that he can use to break big runs while Bush uses his powerful running style to break down the defense.
With McFadden running so well this season, the Raiders barely ever wanted to take the ball out of his hands. As a result, Bush was not getting a whole lot of touches and the Raiders never developed the one two tandem punch of lightening and thunder first made popular by Reggie Bush and LenDale White at USC. Now, with McFadden out, it is imperative that Jackson get that type of one two punch going with Bush and Jones. These two could have huge success playing off of each other against the Broncos.