ALAMEDA, Calif. – Mike Goodson is making the most of his limited opportunities as Darren McFadden's backup in Oakland.
Goodson has shown a propensity for big plays off the bench so far this season for the Raiders and has filled a void at backup running back.
Despite only 18 touches on offense, Goodson has gained more than 200 yards, scored one touchdown and provided a big spark for a team desperate to find one.
"I kind of take the glass-half-full thing," Goodson said. "I get to play along with Darren McFadden. So, I know what he's going to do when he gets the ball, so I feel like I got just as much pressure on me. So, when I touch the ball, I got to make something happen every time."
Goodson has done a good job of that so far this season for the Raiders (1-4) heading into Sunday's game against Jacksonville (1-4). He has 11 carries for 89 yards, with three of those runs going for at least 10 yards, including a key 43-yarder last week in Atlanta. That's as many big-play runs as McFadden in 73 fewer carries.
Goodson has also excelled in the screen passing game, catching seven balls for 115 yards including a 64-yard touchdown pass in Miami back in Week 2. That's one of two 20-yard receptions for Goodson so far this season.
"He can run screens, he catches the ball really well out of the backfield, he can run between the tackles, obviously he showed that last week, he can pick up pass protection, he plays special teams," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "He's kind of just a team guy. He knows this is Darren McFadden's running game and he knows that he's kind of the lead dog in that and understands his role and just looks, any way he can help the team. He'll play on any special team you ask him to. He'll come in on third down, he'll carry the ball in short yardage, it doesn't matter. He just wants to be on the field. Just loves playing football."
Goodson's tenure in Oakland did not get off to a rousing start. He had a scary injury early in training camp after being hit by teammate Philip Wheeler. He lay prone on the turf for about 15 minutes before being taken by ambulance to the hospital with a neck injury.
He then fumbled twice in his exhibition debut, bringing back bad memories from his time in Carolina when he fumbled six times in 2010.
"To have those two fumbles and come out, a new team, it was devastating," he said. "So, to be able to get in there and make plays, it felt good."
Now Goodson has done a good job filling a void at backup running back created when the Raiders allowed Michael Bush to leave as a free agent in the offseason.
Bush and McFadden had formed a strong duo during their time together in Oakland with Bush's power style complementing McFadden's breakaway speed. With McFadden also having a history of injuries, Bush was able to fill in capably as a starter when McFadden was unable to play. Bush actually led Oakland with 977 yards rushing last season.
McFadden has been healthy most of this season, although he did miss a little bit of time last week while being treated for a shoulder injury. That didn't end up slowing the Raiders down too much.
"It's a relief just having someone able to come in there and pick up the slack," McFadden said. "He comes in there and he's going 100 miles per hour every time he's in there."
Goodson was acquired in the offseason in a trade from Carolina for offensive tackle Bruce Campbell. He rushed 125 times for 501 yards and three touchdowns and added 43 receptions for 329 yards in three seasons with the Panthers. Goodson had three straight 100-yard rushing games and three touchdowns late in the 2010 season under former coach John Fox.
But he didn't have any carries last year under new coach Ron Rivera and caught one pass for 4 yards. Goodson is getting his chances this season, much to his delight.
"It definitely makes a difference to be able to get hit a couple of times, get yourself going, it definitely helps for a running back," he said.
NOTES: T Khalif Barnes (groin), CB Shawntae Spencer (sprained right foot) and TE Richard Gordon (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday. ... OL Alex Parsons (shoulder/back) and RB Taiwan Jones (knee) are game-time decisions. ... LB Aaron Curry (knees) has practiced all week but will not be activated off the physically unable to perform list for Sunday's game.
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