Darren McFadden had a rough 2012 season. In his previous four seasons, he at least flashed brilliance when he wasn't on the Oakland Raiders' sideline due to various ailments. Last year, he averaged a career low 3.3 yard per carry on his way to 707 yards rushing in 12 games. He told the Contra Costa Times that thinking about last season was one of those things "that gets your blood boiling."
"But last year was last year. It's something I put behind me," McFadden said. "We're moving forward, and I'm looking forward to a new season."
One of the ways McFadden is hoping to move on from his 2012 struggles is by becoming a more vocal leader. He will be 26 when he starts his sixth season in the NFL, making him a veteran by league standards. According to McFadden, he is at a stage in his career where he needs to speak up instead of "just going out there and leading by example."
"You have to be more of a vocal leader and let guys know ‘hey, come on bring yourself along,'" McFadden said. "Some guys might need a jumpstart to get going so you just want to pull them along and get everybody going on the right page."
McFadden is upbeat about the team heading into next season, from the offensive line, to the defense, to backup running back Rashad Jennings, who signed with the Raiders in April after ending the 2012 season on injured reserve with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Perhaps most importantly, McFadden is upbeat about himself. As SB Nation's Raiders blog Silver And Black Pride points out, he may have reason to be. The Raiders are returning to a power blocking scheme, in which McFadden has thrived throughout his career.
The only other time he has played the majority of the season, the team ran a zone blocking scheme and he looked terrible. He has averaged 3.6 yards per carry in his career working in the zone blocking scheme and 5.3 yards per carry in the power blocking scheme.
McFadden still has to prove he can stay healthy and productive for a full season, however. He knows it, too, admitting that fans have yet to see his best.
"Not at all," McFadden said. "You've seen a lot of glimpses, though, but I can promise you that you haven't seen the best of him at all."