This Raiders' season began with a number of significant questions hanging over the team. And, as the team limps along at 3-9 with five straight losses, the number of questions has probably increased rather than decreased.
Can GM Reggie McKenzie procure enough talent to turn this franchise around? Is Dennis Allen the head coach to do it? Are Allen’s coordinators the right men for the job? And who on this roster is part of the long-term solution?
In answer to the last question, the Raiders have at least found one, good performer at tight end.
Brandon Myers, in his first year as the starter at that position, has proven he can be an outstanding tight end in the NFL.
In his fourth season out of Iowa, Myers had his best day as a pro Sunday in the Raiders’ 20-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns, catching a career-high 14 passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.
For the season Myers has 69 catches on 88 passes thrown his way, for 721 yards and four scores, with an average of 10.4 yards per catch. He’s been quarterback Carson Palmer’s most valuable asset, with 38 of his catches resulting in first downs.
Coming into this season, Myers’ career high in receptions was 16, last season, and he had just 32 over his first three full seasons. If he continues at the pace he’s going, he could finish with more than 90 receptions.
An indication of what Myers can do came late in the game, with Oakland driving to try to cut the Browns’ 20-10 lead.
On a 16-play, 84-yard drive, Myers had six catches for 73 yards, including a 17-yard TD catch.
“Brandon has done a nice job for us in the passing game,” Allen told Steve Corkran of the Bay Area News Group after Sunday’s loss. “Obviously our quarterback feels comfortable with him. I’m not really looking for silver linings right now, but yeah, he’s done a nice job for us.”
Coming into this season, Myers was known as a good blocker, with the size (6-foot-3, 256 pounds) to open holes for the running game.
But this season, Myers also has shown he has excellent hands and knows how to get open. He’s definitely earned the respect of Palmer and the coaching staff as a receiver.
“He’s just a good football player,” Palmer told Corkran. “He makes plays. He gets open. He really understands what we’re trying to do as an offense. He understands how to get open. … He understands coverages and seems to always kind of find an open spot.
“Just naturally, you don’t teach that. You don’t coach that. That’s just, you either got it or you don’t. And he’s got a lot of it.”