ALAMEDA – Raiders rookie tight end Clive Walford has been making steady progress behind the scenes. Coaches have lauded his recent practices, as he overcame a long practice drought to due injuries during training camp.
He’s been healthy for some time now, and is starting to make some plays in games. He had a long reception in Week 6 against Denver, and reeled in a 23-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Derek Carr in Sunday’s victory over San Diego.
Walford has been trying to capitalize on the opportunities given, so he can earn the trust of his coaches and quarterback. He has done that, and is starting to get more chances.
He played 28 offensive snaps against the Chargers -- his highest snap percentage of the season -- with a higher play total than third-year pro Mychal Rivera for the first time this season. That shows the Raiders have been willing to put him in position to make plays, and he has showed athleticism and agility as a receiver when given the chance.
“He’s going to continue to be involved,” head coach Jack Del Rio said. “We think Clive’s a good young football player that has a bright future who we want to develop him and grow him and have him be a big part of what we’re doing.”
The Raiders will continue to use Rivera and Walford as receiving options – often at the same time – in a scheme that prizes tight end versatility. Rivera still had 20 snaps, and blocking tight end Lee Smith was involved 34 times on offense.
That is rounding out into a good group, and allows the Raiders to shift formations before the snap and adjust blocking or receiving options.
Linebacker Neiron Ball only played a handful of defensive snaps on Sunday due to a knee injury, which hurt the Raiders’ pass defense a bit. Ray-Ray Armstrong stepped in for Ball over Curtis Lofton, though Ball seems to be a better option as a cover man on passing downs.
Let’s take a look at the Raiders’ snap count, with numbers according to the official game book.
62 – OT Donald Penn, OG J’Marcus Webb, OT Austin Howard, OG Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr, C Rodney Hudson
55 – WR Amari Cooper
47 – WR Michael Crabtree
34 – TE Lee Smith
33 -- RB Latavius Murray
32 – WR Seth Roberts
28 – TE Clive Walford
20 – TE Mychal Rivera
15 – RB Taiwan Jones, FB Jamize Olawale
10 – FB Marcel Reece, RB Roy Helu
9 – WR Andre Holmes
2 – OT Khalif Barnes
90 – FS Charles Woodson
88 – CB DJ Hayden, CB David Amerson
85 – LB Malcolm Smith
82 – SS TJ Carrie
78 – OLB Khalil Mack
75 – OLB Aldon SMith
57 – DE Mario Edwards
55 – LB Ray-Ray Armstrong
51 – NT Stacy McGee
41 – NT Dan Williams
40 – CB Neiko Thorpe
33 – DE C.J. Wilson
33 – DE Shelby Harris
24 – FS Larry Asante, DE Benson Mayowa, LB Curtis Lofton
18 – LB Neiron Ball
4 – CB Keith McGill
25 – Lorenzo Alexander
23 – Keith McGill
22 – Ben Heeney
21 – Taiwan Jones
19 – Jamize Olawale
18 – Taylor Mays
15 – Sebastian Janikowski 17 – Andre Holmes, Larry Asante
16 – Ray-Ray Armstrong, Neiko Thorpe
14 – Mychal Rivera
12 – Lee Smith
11—Jon Condo, Marquette King
10 – Marcel Reece
7 – Donald Penn, J’Marcus Webb, Austin Howard, Gabe Jackson, Khalif Barnes, Malcolm Smith, TJ Carrie, Tony Bergstrom
6 – DJ Hayden
3 – Amari Cooper, Khalil Mack, Aldon Smith, Stacy McGee, Dan Williams, C.J. Wilson, Curtis Lofton
1 – Seth Roberts, Neiron Ball