ALAMEDA -- It's all downhill for Darren McFadden.
Back in a scheme that made him one of the NFL's most explosive backs, McFadden is pushing aside the nightmare of 2012 as if it never happened.
"I came in last year with my hopes super high," McFadden said Thursday, the fourth day of the Raiders off-season conditioning program. "They were just crushed. So I wanted to put that behind me and move forward."
Forward, as opposed to lateral or backwards, which is where McFadden went in the offense of deposed offensive coordinator Greg Knapp.
After averaging more than 5 yards per carry in 2010 and 2011, McFadden gained 707 yards on 216 carries in 2012. He averaged 5 yards per carry in a game one time, 4 yards twice and only four times managed to reach 3 yards per carry.
In 216 attempts, McFadden had only four runs of 20 yards or more. Besides McFadden's propensity for injury -- he missed four games with an ankle injury -- the primary culprit was a zone blocking offense that called for McFadden to run laterally before making one cut upfield when a lane opened.
It was the same system the Raiders used when McFadden struggled during his first two seasons.
Coach Dennis Allen, general manager Reggie McKenzie and new offensive coordinator Greg Olson are all on record as promising to get back to the style of runs that helped McFadden gain 1,771 yards on 336 carries (5.3 yards per carry) in 20 games in 2010 and 2011.
"I think it will help him a ton," center Stefen Wisniewski said. "I would expect a lot more production out of him for sure. I'm not going to guess how much, but I really think he'll thrive in this."
Although McFadden never blamed Knapp last season, the smile on his face was proof that he's happy to be playing in a system that suits his skill set.
"It's a downhill offense," McFadden said. "That's one of the things I like about it. I'm the type of guy I like to get going downhill, so I'm looking forward to it. I think it's going to be a great fit for our team."
Even as McKenzie was remaking the roster following the season and didn't have a lot to say about his plans, he all but declared McFadden untouchable despite his struggles.
"It's a great feeling that they have that confidence in me, so I just want to go out there and prove to them on the field that I can do it, and show them I'm the type of player they think I'm capable of being," McFadden said.
McFadden is the Raiders highest-paid player, making $5.8 million this season in the final year of his contract. He's not sure if or when the Raiders will attempt to lock him up past the 2013 season.
"I can't do nothing but roll with it," McFadden said. "We haven't talked about anything. I'm a Raider right now and I'm playing football and preparing for the season. That's all I can do right now."