Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, Knowshon Moreno Receiving Rave Reviews
When players receive constant praise and recognition during training camp, it generally is an antecedent to a successful season. Running backs Darren McFadden, Rashard Mendenhall, and Knowshon Moreno fit that bill, so they’ve turned me into believers.
Darren McFadden has missed some of training camp because of a fractured orbital bone, but when he’s practiced he’s turned heads. Raiders beat writer Jerry McDonald recently wrote that it “Doesn’t matter how much [McFadden] practices. No one else close.” Oakland offensive coordinator Al Saunders said McFadden was in the same class as Priest Holmes, Marshall Faulk, and Marcus Allen. Head coach Hue Jackson has said McFadden is one of the most complete and elite runners in the NFL. When that many sources agree on something, it generally means something.
Rashard Mendenhall hasn’t received the same amount of praise as McFadden, but he’s received extremely positive reviews. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said he thought Mendenhall still had room to grow even with his successful past two seasons. Running backs coach Kirby Wilson says there’s nothing Mendenhall can’t do and that he has a bright future. National writer Dan Pompei says Mendenhall “showed up to camp in ‘wow’ shape.” He also says that Mendenhall is more comfortable now that he’s in his fourth year with the team. Pompei says Mendenhall is out to make people recognize him for his play, not his bin Laden comments.
Knowshon Moreno has entered camp in the best shape of his life after spending his summer doing cross fit training. The Denver Post says he’s the healthiest, fittest, and fastest he’s been in his Broncos career. John Clayton added that Moreno is having his best training camp as a pro. Moreno put in the work in the offseason and everyone seems to be in agreement that he looks good. We’ve been Knowshon fans since college and expected big things out of him as a pro. I think he just had some bad luck with injuries the past two years. Starting off the year healthy and playing for a coach who loves to run the ball should be a nice recipe for success this season.
When everyone seems to be in agreement about a player, it generally is significant. Combining all the information makes me think these three running backs will have good seasons.