Taiwan Jones Likely To Start At Running Back For Raiders

Jones, not Reece, likely to start at RB for Raiders

11/8/12 in NFL   |   Matthew_Shovlin   |   735 respect

Aug 25, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Taiwan Jones (22) during the game against the Detroit Lions at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIREWhen Raider running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson were both diagnosed with high-ankle sprains earlier this week, my first thought was that fullback Marcel Reece would slide over to halfback and be the lead man in the Raiders' backfield. However, Taiwan Jones, the second year runner out of Eastern Washington, ran with the first-team on Wednesday and split first-team reps with Reece on Thursday.

This is an interesting twist, as head coach Dennis Allen said on Monday that the coaching staff doesn't trust Jones due to ball security issues. In addition, Reece played halfback for the remainder of Sunday's game after McFadden and Goodson left with injuries, though he didn't receive a carry.

Despite his lack of trust early in the week, Allen had some encouraging words regarding Jones on Thursday: "He's been a little up-and-down and a little injury-plagued, so it's been kind of tough to evaluate because he's missed some time, but if he's called on to step in and play, then we fully anticipate him stepping in to perform and do the job."

Quarterback Carson Palmer also had strong words for Jones, saying that he "can't wait" for Jones to get more touches this week. "He's so electrifying. He puts his foot in the ground and goes," Palmer said.

Jones, a fourth round pick in 2011, has only 17 carries for 75 yards in his NFL career, and only one of those carries has come this season. Attending media members frequently rave about his explosiveness on the practice field, stating that he looks to be in a different gear than everyone else. It seems that we'll finally get a chance to see that explosiveness showcased on Sunday.

I still expect Marcel Reece to be the better, more reliable fantasy option this week, due to the coaching staff's confidence in him, his size between the tackles, and his ability in the passing game. However, Jones still has a ton of risk/reward upside, and I wouldn't advise against throwing him in your lineup if you're thin at running back.

Here's a look at what Jones can do when given an opportunity to make plays in the open field (granted, these are college highlights against Big Sky teams):


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