Bengals' new OC expresses interest in Darren McFadden

1/13/14 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Since being drafted fourth overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 2008 NFL Draft, running back Darren McFadden has had a number of ups and downs throughout his professional career. At times, McFadden has looked like one of the most explosive running backs in the NFL, but injuries have often slowed him down - he has missed at least three games in each of his six NFL season, and has missed an average of 6.3 over the past three years.

Sep 23, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden (20) runs with the ball during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  The Broncos won 37-21. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsMcFadden's two best seasons (as far as per game production) came in 2010 and 2011, when he averaged 121.7 yards from scrimmage per game with 15 touchdowns across 20 contests. In his other four NFL seasons, McFadden has topped 3.4 yards per carry just one time and has never topped five touchdowns.

If you are wondering why McFadden was so great for the middle two years of his career, look no further than Hue Jackson. The Raiders' former offensive coordinator and head coach was with the team for just two years, which just so happened to be McFadden's two impressive seasons. Jackson is a tremendous offensive mind who loves to pound the football on the ground, and he was great at getting the most out of McFadden's tremendous combination of power and speed.

Jackson was on the Bengals' staff as the running backs coach in 2013, but on the heels of losing Jay Gruden to the Washington Redskins, the Bengals promoted Jackson to their suddenly vacant offensive coordinator position.

Interestingly, McFadden is set to become an unrestricted free agent during the same offseason that Jackson has gotten his first high-profile job since running the Raiders' offense. "You guys know how I feel about Darren McFadden," Jackson said during a radio interview on Friday. "He's still one of my favorite players. What a talent. But I really like my little guy, [Giovani Bernard]. He had a real good season, but I don't think you can ever have too many good backs."

The Bengals very well may release 2013 leading rusher BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and it is unclear whether or not the team is willing to give little youngster Bernard - who had just 170 carries this season - a full workload. That could leave the door open for McFadden to come in as a complement to Bernard in Jackson's run-heavy scheme.

Talk of McFadden-to-Cincinnati is largely speculation at this point, but it is worth noting due to Jackson's past success with McFadden. Coming off another injury-plagued season, McFadden is going to have a tough time getting a multi-year contract with a decent amount of guaranteed money, so the Bengals could possibly scoop him up on a one-year deal. McFadden could be open to a small contract with the Bengals, as his stock was never higher than when he was playing under Jackson, and he could prove himself worth a bigger deal and test free agency again with a higher price tag in 2015.
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