WATFORD, England – The Raiders tight end group features just three players, but they are as vital as any position group to what the Raiders do offensively.
It’s a versatile crew with Darren Waller, Foster Moreau and Derek Carrier all able to block and catch effectively.
They have different specialties, with Waller a breakout receiving threat, Moreau a tough blocker and Carrier a blue-collar guy asked to back up in several different spots.
The group has been active in the passing game, with a combined 42 catches for 404 yards and a touchdown. Waller’s responsible for most of that, but Moreau certainly earned some trust after hauling in a tough touchdown pass that helped beat Indianapolis in Week 4.
That group must continue producing, especially out of multiple tight end sets, for Sunday’s game against Chicago to go well.
The Raiders receiver corps is ailing, with half the group questionable on the team’s injury report. That includes Tyrell Williams, though there’s optimism that he could play.
The tight ends have to be active in the passing game, though they won’t take over as the air attack’s primary targets.
“I don’t know. I mean, we’ll see how the game goes,” Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. “We’ve got running backs that can catch. We’ve got other receivers that are good players. We’re not going to throw the ball to all the tight ends and backs because a couple guys are hurt. We got capable players, we’ll see who’s available and we’ll use who is available.”
The tight ends will have a busy Sunday ahead, well beyond being targets. They’ll help in maximum protection while trying to run against a dominant Bears defensive front. They’re also going to help chip Khalil Mack firing off the edge.
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Having versatile talents helps this effort and makes the Raiders tougher to predict. Waller’s an excellent receiver, but he is improving as a blocker. Moreau’s a thumper, but he is a better receiver than you think.
“That touchdown catch in Indy didn’t surprise me at all, because he has been snagging passes like that all the time in practice,” Waller said. “Seeing that come into action was pretty cool. There are no limits to his game. There are no limits in blocking, route running or pass-catching.”
The Raiders must get contributions aplenty from this healthy, talented position group that has proven integral to making the offense go.