Redskins

Raiders hopeful McFadden will return

Raiders hopeful McFadden will return

ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) The Oakland Raiders running game, which struggled so much the first half of the season when Darren McFadden was healthy, showed signs of life in recent weeks after the star back sprained his right ankle.

With McFadden poised to come back this week, the Raiders are excited to see what he will be able to do now that the offensive line is adjusting to the new zone blocking scheme.

McFadden missed the last four games with the injured ankle, including last week when he practiced but was unable to play in a loss to Cleveland. But running backs coach Kelly Skipper said he is seeing much more burst from McFadden in practice this week and is optimistic he'll be able to play Thursday night for the Raiders (3-9) against the Denver Broncos (9-3).

``We're very excited,'' quarterback Carson Palmer said. ``I can't wait to watch him. We were kind of working through a lot of things when he was healthy in the new scheme and a lot of guys doing a lot of different things that they haven't done in their careers. But now with as many games as we have underneath our belt up front, getting him back will be a big bonus for us.''

McFadden averaged just 3.3 yards per carry before spraining his right ankle early in the eighth game against Tampa Bay. McFadden had averaged more than 5 yards per carry over the previous two seasons, but struggled to adjust to the team's new zone blocking system.

He had two 100-yard games before the injury and averaged 4 yards a carry in just one game this season. He also had only three runs that went for at least 20 yards in 139 carries after being one of the league's top big-play backs the past two years.

With converted fullback Marcel Reece and undrafted free agent Jeremy Stewart sharing the load the last four weeks, the Raiders (3-9) averaged 4.2 yards per carry as the blocking up front started to click.

``We've improved so much, and now he gets to step in and be able to see the holes and see the improvement we've done,'' Skipper said. ``He's been watching film, he's been studying a lot, so he's been seeing it, `There it is, OK. Good.' So I think it will help him a lot. He'll be right on point.''

While the running game has improved, the Raiders have struggled as a whole without McFadden, losing the past five games to get knocked out of playoff contention with a quarter of the season left.

McFadden has missed 23 games in five NFL seasons with a variety of injuries. He said sitting out is difficult and that he just tried to keep a positive mindset during the team's skid.

He did like seeing the improved run game with bigger holes to run through than he had when he was healthy.

``It's one thing I'm looking forward to, is to get out there and try to get into some of them,'' he said.

The Raiders also hope to get backup running back Mike Goodson back this week as well. Goodson sprained his right ankle later in the same game that McFadden got hurt in and has been out ever since.

He also practiced last week but did not play against the Browns. He is also expected to be back Thursday.

``Getting Goody back is great, too, because that's another change-up for us,'' Palmer said. ``It's not like Darren is going to go in and get 50 carries. He has to work his way back into this thing, too. Having another guy on third down to come in like Goody and kind of spell everybody gives us some more rest.''

NOTES: S Matt Giordano and S Mike Mitchell have passed all their tests after leaving the last game with concussions and practiced on a limited basis. ... CB/PR Phillip Adams, who also got a concussion in the game, has not been cleared. ... DT Richard Seymour (hamstring) also missed practice and could miss his fifth straight game. ... The Raiders signed RB Jamize Olawale from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad to their 53-man roster.

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Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Injuries to Marshall and Perine will open the door for Kapri Bibbs to make the Redskins

Following the Redskins' Week 2 preseason win over the Jets on Thursday, Jay Gruden said both Byron Marshall and Samaje Perine were "OK" after the two running backs each left the game with injuries. Marshall's was labeled a lower-leg issue, while Perine's injury was called a twisted ankle.

Timetables for their recoveries were then reported on Friday, and while the two members of the backfield escaped anything too severe, they will each be sidelined for decent chunks of time.

Perine will miss a week, according to Mike Garafolo. Marshall, meanwhile, is looking at a longer two-to-four week recovery, per Tom Pelissero. Those pieces of news hurt them in more ways than one.

Derrius Guice's torn ACL in Week 1 of the team's exhibition schedule meant that Marshall and Perine both had a big-time opportunity to step up and earn a spot on Washington's 53-man roster, spots that were harder to envision for them when Guice was healthy.

Overall, the two were slated to compete with Kapri Bibbs for what will likely be two spaces on the depth chart behind the absolutely safe Chris Thompson and Rob Kelley. Now, though, they'll be forced to sit until they're healed up, giving Bibbs more chances in practice and the two remaining August contests to earn Jay Gruden's trust.

Against New York, Bibbs struggled on the ground but led the offense with seven grabs, including a 29-yard gain off a screen play. That performance absolutely brought him closer in the race with Marshall, who scored vs. the Patriots a week earlier. Next, he'll need to prove he can run effectively between the tackles vs. the Broncos in Week 3, which will put some heat on Perine as well.

The 'Skins have 15 days left until they have to finalize their regular season roster. As things stand now amongst the running backs, Bibbs presently has a real shot at stealing a job from the two shelved RBs. But with the way this race has unfolded thus far, that can all change in a split second. 

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Redskins 53-man roster projection, ver. 2.0

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Redskins 53-man roster projection, ver. 2.0

<< Click here to see Redskins 53-man roster projection ver. 2.0 >>

The Redskins are halfway through the preseason and the first two games may have done more to muddy the waters when it comes to who will make the 53-man roster than they did to clarify things. 

Here is my second training camp prediction of who will make the final cut for the Redskins. See where players are safe and where the hot spots are for competition. 

Among the big battles taking shape:

—An injury and one player’s impressive preseason have juggled the wide receiver depth chart. 

—With Orlando Scandrick cut, the cornerback position looks set but the rookies had better not do anything to shake the coaches’ confidence in them. 

—There are seven safeties who may be worthy of roster spots, but only four are likely to make it. 

—Despite the Hogan-led rally last night, it still looks like the roster will have only two QBs. 

<< Click here to see Redskins 53-man roster projection ver. 2.0 >>

Redskins 2018 news:

-Redskins vs Jets: Must-see photos from the game
-Analysis: Five Redskins-Jets observations

Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page, Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter  @TandlerNBCS and on Instagram @RichTandler