ALAMEDA — “Just win, baby.” Al Davis said it in the ’70s, expressing what he wants from his team.
New Raiders running back Maurice Jones-Drew and longtime Raiders fullback Marcel Reece echoed the sentiment Tuesday afternoon.
“If I carry the ball 20 times and we lose, what’s the purpose of carrying the ball that many times? If I carry the ball two times and we win, that’s what it’s all about. … My goal is to come in and do whatever I can to help this organization get back to where it belongs.”
Jones-Drew, who grew up in Antioch, didn’t mince any words when he talked about the competition between himself and Darren McFadden.
He genuinely doesn’t care whether he starts or not. But he’ll fight for it throughout training camp.
As it stands now, the two will split carries, so long as both are healthy. That’s a shifty proposition, seeing as how McFadden has missed nearly half of his potential start over the last three seasons.
Regardless, the two pose a home run threat every time they suit up. And Reece is hyped about it:
“I think it’s going to be special. First things first is keeping Darren healthy. He’s 100 percent right now, which is always great to come into offseason workouts and not have to rehab or deal with any past injuries.”
“We’ve got to keep Maurice healthy as well. Going along your career, you want to stay healthy. If we keep those guys healthy, I definitely think we’ll have the best tandem in the league.”
Asked whether he would be upset about losing carries, Reece responded by saying:
“I’ve never worried too much about the number of carries I get. But when I do get them, rest assured, it’s going to be excitement for sure.”
Jones-Drew averaged 4.5 yards per carry during eight seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team with a porous offensive line and a perennially unstable quarterback situation.
Given the new additions — as well as players that Oakland already had under contract — Jones-Drew likes what the team can do. Nonetheless, he thinks there’s still work to be done:
“The potential we have as an offense is very high. But, it’s potential. You have to go out there and earn everything. You have to go out there and work in these workouts.”
What could make the offense even more potent, the Raiders finally have an experienced quarterback — something they really haven’t had since Rich Gannon retired after 2004, and Kerry Collins played one very bad year in 2005.
Matt Schaub is one of only a few NFL quarterbacks to have played five consecutive seasons with a passer rating above 90. The others? Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning, and Steve Young.
There’s a few more, but for the sake of perspective, the club has so few members that even Joe Montana isn’t in it. And it gives offensive coordinator Greg Olson something he’s never had in his career.
Olson has never been able to develop an offense around an experienced quarterback. It’s one major reason that the Raiders have been habitually unsuccessful over the past decade. And Reece says Olson should be able to do a lot with the situation:
“I think it means a lot for him. As offensive coordinator, for one, just having stability at the position. You have a vested veteran at the helms of the position.
It’s going to mean a lot to him, to be able to open his mind and be as creative as possible. Maybe as creative as he’s been in his career at offensive coordinator.”
Only time will tell if Jones-Drew and McFadden are the most potent 1-2 backs in the NFL. But on paper, with everything that surrounds them, it sure looks that way.