One of the biggest battles going on during the Oakland Raiders’ training camp is at backup running back behind Darren McFadden. Taiwan Jones and Mike Goodson have impressed both the fans who made it out to Napa over the weekend, and the Raider’s coaching staff. They have both impressed so much, that nobody, not the beat writers, not the coaches, nobody is willing to concede one way or the other between the two young and very talented runners.
All throughout camp you hear Taiwan Jones making a cut and blowing past defenders in one breath, and Mike Goodson showing his quickness through the line and taking one to the house in the next. Didn’t matter whether it was 7 on 7 drill with no pads on, or a full 11 on 11 scrimmage with live hitting, both guys are showing what they can do.
It looked as if Jones might be getting a leg up on his competition when Goodson left Tuesday’s practice early after tweaking his hamstring. Goodson, though, was back at practice the very next day showing absolutely no ill effects of the prior day’s injury.
Sunday, it was Jones who had to leave early. It was also due to a hamstring injury. The main difference here, is that Taiwan has a history with his hamstring. The Eastern Washington product strained his hamstring in the Raider’s victory over the Vikings in week 11 last year. And, although he did return to practice by week 16, he would not touch the ball again for the rest of the season.
Head coach Dennis Allen didn’t seem too concerned about Jones’ hammy, but you can bet Taiwan himself is quite concerned. Any extended time on the shelf allows more time for Goodson to shine in his absence. And that could mean dropping from #2 on the depth chart to #3.