|National Football League|
Raiders excited to see healthy McFadden
By JOSH DUBOW
The two stars never got a chance to play together last season with McFadden being sidelined by a season-ending foot injury earlier in the same game that Palmer made his Raiders debut.
With McFadden finally recovered and at full speed during offseason practices, and Palmer entrenched as the team's starting quarterback, the Raiders are hoping they have the building blocks for a dynamic offense.
"That's the hardest thing for me right now is you want to watch him cause he's so electrifying and he can do so many different things," Palmer said Tuesday. "But I have a job on bootlegs and things like that and I have to make sure I get him the ball and then boot, but getting him on the field is just something the defense has to key on and really focus on and it's been great to work with."
Palmer never got that chance a year ago. He was acquired by the Raiders on Oct. 18, two days after starter Jason Campbell went down with a broken collarbone. Palmer got only a handful of snaps with the first team in practice that week and McFadden then injured his right foot catching a pass early in the first quarter Oct. 23 against Kansas City.
McFadden said he initially didn't think the injury was that serious but that it started to feel much worse the day after. The Raiders originally described the injury as a sprained foot and designated him week-to-week. But it was actually a more serious Lisfranc injury that cost him the final nine games of the season and was a big reason why Oakland missed the playoffs.
"It was one of those things where you just hated it," McFadden said. "Week after week you're trying to get out there, and you can't get out there because your foot won't let you. One of those deals, you have to just keep going, keep pushing for it. Injuries like that take a lot of time to heal up so it's not something you can just get back out there on too soon."
McFadden said it took until early April until he could start running again and now he has no limitations. He has been running full speed and making cuts on the foot, showing signs of what he can bring to the Raiders offense this season if he can remain healthy.
That's always been the biggest question for McFadden, who has missed 19 games in his first four seasons with foot, toe, shoulder, knee and hamstring injuries. Despite that history, McFadden disagrees with the notion that he is injury prone.
"Everybody has their own opinion, so, for me, I'm just going out there playing, going hard, if I get hurt, so be it," he said. "I could see if it was just going down the street, falling over, getting hurt, that's different, but I'm out there playing hard when I get hurt."
McFadden was off to a fast start last season before the injury. He led the NFL with 610 yards rushing through six games and felt he had a shot at an 1,800-yard season. He also added 129 yards receiving and scored five total touchdowns as the Raiders opened the season 4-2.
McFadden topped 100 yards rushing eight times in a 15-game span between 2010 and 2011 as he finally showed signs of being the big-play back the Raiders thought they found when they drafted him fourth overall in 2008.
"Explosive home-run hitter on any given down, and those are guys that are tough to deal with because you might bottle them up for a while, but all it takes is one play and he hits a home run and ends up beating you," coach Dennis Allen said. "So he's an exciting player. He's working hard out here every day to get better, to learn the system, to make sure he knows what to do and how to do it, and make sure he can execute under pressure."
Notes: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey said he regretted "bringing bad attention to the team" for his recent arrest on a charge of misdemeanor drunken driving. ... LB Rolando McClain is not here this week because he is scheduled to go on trial Thursday in Alabama on misdemeanor assault, firearms and other charges for allegedly firing a gun near someone's head in December. ... S Mike Mitchell also was not here because of a knee injury and DL Richard Seymour stayed home to work out on his own. ... DL Matt Shaughnessy (shoulder), C Stefen Wisniewski (shoulder) and G Mike Brisiel (hamstring) were among the injured players working on the side. .. The team announced Tuesday that it had signed free agent fullback Owen Schmitt, who played the last two seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles. Schmitt also played for two years with the Seattle Seahawks.
Updated May 15, 2012