Fargas having solid preseason

The Raiders might be having their problems on offense during the preseason but that's not the case with Justin Fargas. With two solid performances against St. Louis and San Francisco, Oakland's rookie running back has all but cemented his spot on the team's regular-season roster despite playing less than a half in each game.<BR><BR>

Fargas, a third-round draft pick out of USC, leads the entire NFL in rushing during the preseason with 198 yards. Most of those yards, 126 in fact, came in Oakland's loss to the 49ers on Thursday when Fargas repeatedly scorched San Francisco's defense with breakaway runs. ''If I were a fan watching him, I'd be excited about his future,'' said Raiders head coach Bill Callahan. ''He's shown promise not only as a running back but there were a couple of instances (against 49ers) of what he brings to special teams.'' Oakland originally drafted Fargas with the idea of using him as a kickoff return man. That was before the Raiders signed free agent Ronney Jenkins, who will likely open the regular season in that role. Fargas, though, is making progress up the team's depth chart at running back. Two weeks ago he was fourth behind Charlie Garner, Tyrone Wheatley and Madre Hill. Now he's moved ahead of Hill and might even push Wheatley for playing time when Garner needs a breather. Granted, it's the preseaon and Fargas has been doing his damage against players who more than likely won't be around when the regular season begins.

Still, his 5.7 yards-per-carry average is tops among all players with at least 14 carries in the preseason, numbers that are difficult to ignore.

Callahan even hinted after the loss to San Francisco that Fargas could play with the Raiders' starting offense this Friday when the Minnesota Vikings come to town.

''Everybody has a role on this team,'' said Fargas. ''You don't need much motivation. When they put you in the game, you have to be ready.''

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