McFadden Ahead in Raiders Race

It's a big question for the third consecutive Oakland Raiders training camp -- who is this team's starting running back?

Darren McFadden and Michael Bush both come into camp as pretty good running backs, but neither having established himself as the unquestioned starter. For the third training camp in a row.

The only difference this year is you don't have Justin Fargas complicating the mix. Fargas is currently not with any team.

Raiders coach Tom Cable would give Randy Hanson a foot massage before he would tell you who's in the lead to win this job during the first week of training camp. But the first-team practice line-ups and the big plays in camp thus far give us some tea leaves to over-analyze.

Bush initially appeared ahead. After the first contact practice Monday night, Paul Gutierrez wrote in the Sacramento Bee, "Michael Bush and Darren McFadden seem to be sharing time at running back, though Bush is getting run with the first team."

But few days of practice have made something of a difference. McFadden has been making plays on his first-team reps.  "McFadden takes swing pass to the house," the Chronicle's Vittorio Tafur tweeted from Wednesday afternoon practice.

Oakland Trib Raiders writer Jerry McDonald's Twitter feed will tell you that Thursday morning has been all McFadden.

Whoever wins the battle may have a new fullback blocking for him. The Raiders experimented with backup defensive end Alex Daniels at fullback Wednesday.

"I played running back before," Daniels told the Oakland Tribune. "If I’ve got to block for McFadden I’m going to block for McFadden. If I’ve got to block for Bush, I’ve got block for Bush. If I’ve got to block for President Obama, if it’s going to help the Raiders win, then that’s what I’ve got to do."

Daniels' willingness is appreciated. But let's hope the Raiders do not add President Obama to an already crowded backfield.

Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who wonders if anyone gave Tom Cable an anniversary card.

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