What a Crockett!

It is akin to sweeping the floor of a restaurant. No one appreciates it but the patrons are enamored that the aisle is clean. Fullback Zack Crockett rarely gets the glory but he keeps the running backs and quarterbacks jerseys cleaner with his blocking ability.

And he isn't a one-dimensional back. Along with his duties as a blocker, Zack Crockett is one of the better short-yardage backs in football, cramming it across the imaginary line on your televisions sets for a first down or crossing the goalline through sheer defiance – willing himself into the end zone while dragging defenders.

But 12 years into the league, Crockett recorded the lowest touchdown total since 1998 when he was with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Crockett had maintained a healthy seven touchdowns per season over a four-year span that began in 2000 but that total has dwindled to three over the last two years. Perhaps the correlation can be simply linked to one name – Norv Turner. But it makes you wonder if another element has crept in – age. Crockett is 33 and the pounding may have caught up to him.

And with LaMont Jordan a built-in lead blocker, Crockett's value has been even more diminished, if it wasn't for his excellence on special teams.

This year, however, is different with Turner gone. His chances have been limited with the short-yardage tag but he has shown he can carry a load if given the rock consistently.

"I know what my role is," he admitted before adding, "but I know what I can do."

When he does get the carries, Crockett responds but he tends to get stale with his one or two carries a game. Turner forgot he was there during his two-year tenure and oftentimes could be heard saying he had to return Crockett to the man he was before – the back that could consistently get the tough yards and earn the Raiders another first down.

New coach and new quarterback could mean the redefining of the offense in Oakland. Crockett has value and believes the addition of Aaron Brooks will open up new avenues for an offense that grew stale.

"He can move around, and he's known for his escapability," Crockett said. "It helps everyone. It helps the offensive line. It helps the running backs. It helps the receivers. And you've got a new coach who played offensive line, so you know he's going to protect you."

Along with the new dimension, perhaps we will see the Crockett of old.


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