Jon Gruden: Trio of tight ends ‘life blood’ of Oakland Raiders offense – NFL Nation


ALAMEDA, Calif. — The get in touch with came in early in the second quarter Sunday at Green Bay but Darren Waller, the Oakland Raiders tight finish for whom the pass play was made, was not in the huddle.

With receivers Hunter Renfrow, Trevor Davis and Marcell Ateman lined up trips proper and operating back Josh Jacobs on quarterback Derek Carr’s left hip in the shotgun, Derek Carrier was the tight finish, lined up wide left and covered in man-to-man by Packers security Will Redmond.

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Once again, the play was made for Waller. Carrier turned Carr’s throw into a 17-yard pickup on second-and-20 from the Packers’ 38-yard line.

“Derek did not run it in practice,” Carr stated with a wide grin. “(But) he runs the small corner cease-route, we hit him for a significant play, proper? These guys, (you) can just plug and play them, wherever they need to have to be.”

Accurate adequate, 4 snaps later, Carr hit rookie tight finish Foster Moreau for a 10-yard touchdown that gave the Raiders a quick-lived 10-7 lead. Moreau stretched the final 3 yards for the score with each Waller and Carrier on the field for the play.

Carr stated the TD play to Moreau was preceded by a “hand signal” the Raiders had by no means applied with all 3 tight ends in the game at the exact same time.

Yes, the Raiders ended up losing, 42-24, but their trio of tight ends served as additional than Carr’s safety blanket. They place on a show. And they required to on a day in which Carr’s receivers consisted of Renfrow, a fifth-round draft choose Davis, who only joined the Raiders on Sept. 19 Ateman, a 2018 seventh-round choose named up from the practice squad on Oct. five prior to getting waived 3 days later and re-signed two days following that and Keelan Doss, the undrafted rookie and “Challenging Knocks” hero. Let’s just they have been not about to place the worry of, properly, Antonio Brown into the Packers secondary.

Foster Moreau and Darren Waller accounted for all 3 Raiders touchdowns this previous Sunday. Stacy Revere/Getty Photos

“All 3 of them can do almost everything,” Carr continued. “Commonly, you get a group of guys and, He can do this properly, he does this properly, and we sort of have to move them about.”

As in, TE 1 is the receiver, TE two is the blocker and TE three is a combo. But as Carr stated, Waller, Moreau and Carrier play all the roles.

And that is a fantastic factor due to the fact Raiders coach Jon Gruden stated the tight ends have been the “lifeblood” of Oakland’s offense.

“Waller is not a tight finish, he’s a football player,” Gruden stated. “You can line him up anyplace. He lined up in various locations. So did Moreau and Carrier. They can line up in line and they appreciate playing physical football. They can line up and play the finesse game. They are seriously sensible and supportive of one particular a different. They have no egos, they are good guys. I could not be happier with the tight ends.”

Gruden was so thrilled that he joked that their position coach, Frank Smith, deserved a raise.

Possibly he wasn’t joking. Take into consideration: with 44 catches, the second-most in the NFL for tight ends, Waller passed Tim Brown for the most receptions via the 1st six games of a season in franchise history.

Waller’s 31.six fantasy points in Green Bay have been the most by any tight finish in a game this season. His two TD catches against the Packers have been his 1st two scores as a Raider and the 1st time in his truncated profession that he had various touchdowns in a game.

“Certainly want to win, for positive,” stated Waller, who also had 126 yards getting, following the Packers loss, “but it was cool to uncover the finish zone. Felt like there was a lot of fantastic items the offense did, but we’ve just got to finish. But yeah, it was fantastic to get in the finish zone.”

Waller’s 486 getting yards lead the Raiders and his typical of 7.three catches per game is second amongst all tight ends due to the fact the 1970 AFL/NFL merger to Kellen Winslow, who averaged 7.9 catches per game in 1984, when he played seven games.

Yes, Waller’s self-confidence is higher, in each himself and his position group, days following inking a multi-year contract extension with word of his battle for sobriety going viral.

“I never be concerned about who’s out there,” he stated of opposing defenses. “I just be concerned about, moreso now, what are they going to do to deal with me, deal with our group, deal with our offense?”

Meanwhile, Moreau’s two TD catches are tied for the league lead for rookie tight ends.

“My co-workers, my partners in crime, Carrier and Waller, are seriously fantastic players,” Moreau stated. “I am studying a lot from them. I appreciate what we’re performing.”

He’s not the only one particular in the Raiders locker area who feels that way.


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