Tony Sparano hoping Maurice Jones-Drew can spark run game

Tony Sparano is a run-first coach, and in his first game as the interim head coach of the Oakland Raiders, he’d like to get the ground game finally going for the 0-4 team.

The running game was supposed to be the strength of this team. Yet the Raiders are averaging 62 yards a game on the ground, which is last in the NFL. With starter Maurice Jones-Drew fully recovered from a Week 1 hand injury, Sparano hopes Jones-Drew and Darren McFadden can find a rhythm.

“I’d like Maurice to take a little bit greater role, maybe get some snaps off of Darren,” Sparano said. “If we could, keep them both fresh that way, but we also have got to be running the football and doing some things that way too.”

Sparano is famous for having success with the Wildcat formation as the head coach in Miami from 2008-2011. While the fad is essentially over, the Raiders have used it for three plays this season and Sparano hinted we will see it again.

“We’ve been efficient every time we’ve lined up in it. It’s been good to us, but we’ve only run three snaps, and for different reasons, Maurice maybe not being out there at times,” Sparano said. “We could see anything right now.”

In other Raiders notes:

  • CBS analyst Rich Gannon watched practice Friday in preparation of calling the game Sunday. He is broadcasting the game Sunday. Gannon, who won the NFL MVP award in 2002 with the Raiders, ripped the team last week on his radio show. Oakland fullback Marcel Reece responded by saying he wanted Gannon to watch the team practice.

  • Linebacker Jamar Chaney’s contract with the Raiders is a prorated one-year deal. He signed with Oakland on Tuesday.

  • Sparano again declined to see whether Matt Schaub or Matt McGloin will back up Derek Carr. McGloin was the backup the past two games while Schaub was dealing with a family issue.