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Darren McFadden excited about return to power blocking scheme

By Matt Rybaltowski |

Darren McFadden is looking to bounce back from a subpar season. (USATSI)

An Oakland Raiders' running game that placed in the Top 10 in the NFL in yards per game in consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2011, floundered last season under Greg Knapp's zone-blocking attack.

Uncomfortable with the scheme, the Raiders were one of only five teams in the league to average less than 90 rushing yards per game in 2012. Oakland's struggles with the scheme reportedly factored in Knapp's dismissal after only one year as the team's offensive coordinator. As the Raiders prepare to return to a power blocking scheme for the upcoming season, the move has earned the approval of running back Darren McFadden.

"This is very exciting for me," McFadden told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I am the type of guy who likes to go downhill, make a cut and go -- that's my thing. We'll mix it up like we used to, and get some zones in there, but for the most part, I will be keeping my shoulders toward the line of scrimmage."

McFadden averaged 3.3 yards per carry last season, the lowest average in his five-year career. In each of McFadden's previous two seasons, he averaged more than five yards per run. In 2010, McFadden ranked 10th among all running backs by Pro Football Focus in yards after contact with 766. Last season, McFadden ranked 27th in the category with 418.

It's a critical season for McFadden in 2013 under new Raiders' offensive coordinator Greg Olson. McFadden is entering the final season of a six-year, $60 million contract he signed in 2008.

Keep your eye on everything NFL by following Matt Rybaltowski on Twitter @mattrybaltowski.

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