I’m not sure what Taiwan Jones‘ reaction was when he found out the Oakland Raiders had traded T Bruce Campbell to the Panthers in exchange for RB Mike Goodson. It’s probably safe to assume that it didn’t exactly boost his confidence.
That’s understandable. It was no secret that the Raiders were in the market for a running back to replace what Michael Bush had been doing in the team’s backfield for the previous four years. The consensus was that McKenzie wanted to, and needed to, bring in a big bruising back like Bush to contrast Darren McFadden’s speed and finesse. That’s not what the Raiders did.
Mike Goodson is 6′ and 210 lbs. Sure, that’s 15 lbs. heavier than Jones, but they’re basically the same type of back. To give you an idea of the difference, Michael Bush is 6’1″ and 245 lbs. Now that’s a heavy load coming out of the backfield. Why did McKenzie and Dennis Allen go this route? Your guess is as good as mine. But, the obvious conclusion would be that they had no confidence in Taiwan Jones as a primary backup to McFadden.
The kid who went to high school in Antioch, CA (Deer Valley H.S.) would be out to prove he was worthy of the primary backup role. He was doing a great job of showing his speed and explosiveness in camp, impressing coaches and onlookers alike. The problem, though, is that so was Goodson. They would take turns burning through the defense in 7-7 drills all through OTA’s and mini-camp. They both continued to impress as practice heated up in training camp out in Napa.
Both players suffered hamstring injuries early in camp, and Goodson also had a scary neck injury to boot. The bad part for Jones is that Goodson was able to recover quicker from both of his injury issues and thus would have the upper hand in the camp battle with a larger workload. When put in actual game situations, though, Goodson seemed to choke. He has run a total of 13 times for 23 yards along with 2 lost fumbles. Ouch!
On the flipside, the second year pro out of Eastern Washington took full advantage of his opportunities while playing his first preseason game of the 2012 season vs. the Detroit Lions. He showed the explosiveness and burst that has been mentioned for 2 years by beat writers who have the opportunity to see him practice week in and week out. 10 carries for a total of 50 yards. That’s the kind of production you hope to see from your players. And with that simple stat line, Jones has all but closed the door on the #2 running back competition. As for Mike Goodson? At this point he needs to focus on beating out Lonyae Miller for the third and final roster spot.