COVERING ALL THINGS SILVER AND BLACK

Zach is Back as Raiders Face Chargers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    DENVER - OCTOBER 24: Tight end Zach Miller #80 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates a touchdown reception in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on October 24, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

    Through the thick, the thin, and the ugly of the Lane Kiffin and Tom Cable eras, Oakland Raiders tight end Zach Miller has been the Raiders' only reliable threat through the air.

    Until this past Halloween. Miller, who had been on pace for a thousand-plus yard season, tore his plantar fascia in the blowout win over the Broncos. He aggravated it further against the Seahawks, and has since then has averaged but one catch for seven yards each Raiders game in November.

    Miller has played bit of the last two week, but he was mostly used as a hobbling decoy. That changes this week in San Diego, because Zach is back to nearly full strength.

    "It's improving every day," Miller told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm just taking it day by day, seeing how it feels. Frustrating kind of getting all these little things but I'm staying optimistic about it."

    Stay optimistic, indeed. With a win Sunday, the Raiders would be tied with the Chargers for second place in the AFC West, and potentially just a game behind the Chiefs.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who has to wonder if Charles Manson ever checked NFL scores on his cell phone.