Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

February 4, 2008
Promising tight ends can do more

Giants rookie tight end Kevin Boss made one of the biggest catches of yesterday’s Super Bowl.

It was a 45-yard reception that set up a touchdown for the eventual Super Bowl Champions.

But the Raiders might have the best tight end from the 2007 NFL Draft. But the Raiders need to do more with Zach Miller to prove that.

He caught eight passes in the season finale to finish the season with 44 catches, a Raiders rookie record.

Miller was the team’s second-round pick and easily its most impressive rookie. It doesn’t look as if Miller will be another Doug Jolley or Teyo Johnson in Raiders lore.

I thought Miller would catch at least50 passes, but he spent too much time pass blocking because the offensive line needed help.

As he showed in the season finale, Miller is an accomplished route runner and can be effective controlling the middle of the field. Miller is also a decent run blocker.

If the offensive line can pass protect better, Miller shouldn’t have games with only one catch. He had four of those games as a rookie.

Miller’s backup, John Madsen is another solid player that could have been used better. As a former receiver, Madsen’s skills can be problematic for a defense when he and Miller are on the field together.

Madsen caught just eight passes after finishing with 11 receptions as a rookie. Only one of Madsen’s catches went beyond 20 yards.

For an offense that struggled in the passing game, Madsen could have stretched the middle of the field or caused problems by lining up as a receiver and using his size.

The Raiders other tight end was Tony Stewart, who played primarily on special teams. Fred Wakefield spent the season on injured reserve after he tore his ACL in training camp.

The Raiders might look to add another blocking tight end, but this is a position with good young players. Disrupting Miller and Madsen’s development would be a mistake.

It would also be a mistake to ignore them too much in the passing game in 2008.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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