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Friday, February 24, 2012
Darren McFadden is in Oakland's plans

By Bill Williamson

INDIANAPOLIS -- We can forget about the idea of the Oakland Raiders trading running back Darren McFadden.

New Oakland coach Dennis Allen indicated that the running back will be part of the team’s plans moving forward. There has been speculation that McFadden might be traded in an attempt by Oakland to recoup draft picks. The Raiders have very few picks this year.

“As far as I’m concerned he is,” Allen said Friday when asked if McFadden is in Oakland's future plans.

The former Denver defensive coordinator said the Raiders were “much more” difficult to defend last season when McFadden was in the lineup. McFadden was lost for the season on Oct. 23 with a foot injury. Allen said Friday that McFadden is healthy and will be ready for training camp.

The Raiders are planning to move back to a zone-blocking scheme. However, McFadden appeared to be more comfortable as a power runner. Allen said new Oakland offensive coordinator Greg Knapp -- who was Oakland’s coordinator in McFadden’s first NFL season in 2008 -- will put McFadden in position to be successful. Thus, expect the offense to be flexible enough to cater to McFadden’s skills.

Because of the commitment to McFadden, it could be an indication that the team will not give the franchise tag to running back Michael Bush. Safety Tyvon Branch is a candidate for the tag as well. Allen complimented Bush on Friday but did not say what the team’s plans are with any potential free agents.

I will come back with more thoughts on Allen’s news briefing later Friday.

UPDATE: McFadden’s agent, Ian Greengross, said he was told by the Raiders on Friday that McFadden is, indeed, in their plans for 2012.