With Raiders hurting at running back, who will step up?

Rashad Jennings remains out with concussion symptoms as of Friday

Rashad Jennings remains out with concussion symptoms as of Friday

The Oakland Raiders are already facing the top-ranked rush defense against the Jets this weekend, but to make matters worse, the Raiders are plagued with injuries at the running back position.

The oft-injured Darren McFadden has already been ruled out for the game with an ankle injury he suffered against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, while Rashad Jennings has not yet fully recovered from the concussion he suffered in the same game. Backup running back Jeremy Stewart is also already ruled out for Sunday’s game with an ankle and knee injury.

Jennings would be tough for the Raiders to lose as he has become a strong piece of the Raiders offense after being inserted into the starting lineup with McFadden’s injuries. In fact, Jennings accumulated the most yards from the line of scrimmage in the month of November out of all NFL players with 596 total yards (448 rushing yards, 148 receiving yards).

Should Jennings not be good to go, the Raiders could likely insert utility-fullback Marcel Reece in the running back position just as they did last season. Reece started four games at running back for the Raiders last season with McFadden out and was productive with 54 rushes for 271 yards.

The only other option on the roster really is former running back Taiwan Jones, who was converted to the cornerback position in the offseason. Jones, an excellent special teams player, spent his first two seasons in the NFL as a running back but only accumulated 94 yards on just 22 carries over that time. Jones’ problems holding on to the ball played a part in coaches’ decision to play Reece at running back instead of Jones last year, and ultimately converting the speedster to cornerback. It is likely that the Raiders will again turn to Reece at running back should Jennings not be good to go.

Either way, the coaching staff is likely hoping that they can get Jennings back in hopes of continuing his recent success.





Author: Chris McClain

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