Thursday morning the Oakland Raiders confirmed the signing of running back Rashad Jennings and safety Reggie Smith.
Smith played in 45 games with the San Francisco 49ers from 2008-2011 and signed last season with the Carolina Panthers, yet failed to make the roster. He got released just prior to the start of the season.
His opportunity with the Raiders is at free safety as Tyvon Branch is a lock for the strong safety position. The recently signed Usama Young will likely start the season and if he struggles Smith will get an opportunity. Another possiblity is that Oakland will draft a safety in the later rounds of the 2013 NFL draft.
At running back there is no doubt Darren McFadden will receive a bulk of the snaps as his back-up Mike Goodson signed with the New York Jets.
As for Jennings he’ll back-up McFadden a role he’s familiar with. During his four years with the Jacksonville Jaguars he backed-up Maurice-Jones Drew.
He did get the opportunity to start in 2012 as Jones-Drew held out and struggled with injuries. In the six games he started his yards per carry average was 2.8 and he scored two touchdowns.
In his four-year career he has averaged 4.2 yards per carry with a total of 944 yards and seven touchdowns. Noteworthy is that he missed all of 2011 with a knee injury suffered in the third game of the preseason.
The advantage for Jennings though is his familiarity with new Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who was the quarterbacks coach last season for the Jaguars.