TAMPA, Fla. – Mychal Rivera was a regular healthy scratch early this year. The fourth-year tight end had been phased out some in the past few seasons, especially in 2016 where Raiders coaches favored Clive Walford and blocker Lee Smith in the game plan.
Smith ending up on injured reserve gave Rivera second life this season. While they don’t fill the same role – Rivera isn’t much of a blocker – they need a reserve tight end on the active roster for injury protection and certain sets needing a few receiving tight ends.
That, and quality chemistry with quarterback Derek Carr dating back to 2014, has allowed Rivera to produce in limited action.
He had three receptions for 36 yards, including a game-tying 7-yard touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter. Rivera played 21 total snaps, and just four required blocking.
Walford played 59 snaps, and 18 required him to protect. Smith’s role is typically filled by an extra offensive lineman. Denver Kirkland has filled that role, though Vadal Alexander got some work as an addition blocker as well.
Defensively, DJ Hayden stepped into a large role when Sean Smith injured his shoulder early in this game. TJ Carrie played 41 snaps, often stepping in during sub packages.
The secondary stayed together well without Smith, but they certainly hope his recovery is swift.
Let’s take a look at the entire Raiders snap count:
94 – OL Donald Penn, OL Gabe Jackson, OL Kelehci Osemele, OT Austin Howard, OL Rodney Hudson, QB Derek Carr
90 –WR Amari Cooper
72 – WR Michael Crabtree
63 – WR Seth Roberts
59 – TE Clive Walford
36 – RB Latavius Murray
28 – RB DeAndre Washington
24 – FB Jamize Olawale
21 – TE Mychal Rivera
17 – RB Jalen Richard
16 – WR Andre Holmes, WR Johnny Holton
15 -- OL Denver Kirkland
12 – OL Vadal Alexander
1 – RB Taiwan Jones
70 – LB Malcolm Smith, S Reggie Nelson
69 – CB DJ Hayden, CB David Amerson
67 – S Karl Joseph, LB Perry Riley
57 – DE Khalil Mack
56 – LB Bruce Irvin
48 – DL Denico Autry
44 – DL Jihad Ward
41 – CB TJ Carrie
30 – DL Justin Ellis, DL Darius Latham
23 – LB Shilique Calhoun
22 – DL Dan Williams
4 – LB Cory James
2 – CB Sean Smith
28 – Daren Bates, Nate Allen
25 – Cory James
24 – Shilique Calhoun, Jamize Olawale
22 – Keith McGill, Taiwan Jones
21 – WR Andre Holmes
18 – Bryanden Trawick
12 – Marquette King, Jon Feliciano, Clive Walford, Jalen Richard
11 – Jon Condo, Sebastian Janikowski, DJ Hayden
10 – Johnny Holton
6 – Denver Krikland, Mychal Rivera, DeAndre Washington, Austin Howard, Kelechi Osemele, Gabe Jackson, Donald Penn
5 – TJ Carrie
4 – Dan Williams, Darius Latham, Justin Ellis, Bruce Irvin, Khalil Mack, Denico Autry
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book