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Camp analysis: Tight ends

Third in a series of posts analyzing Raiders’ position groups with players scheduled to report to Napa in six days.

Projected starter: Zach Miller. Backups: Brandon Myers, Darrell Strong, John Paul Foschi, Tony Stewart.

No mysteries here. Miller had sports hernia surgery in the offseason and appears to have recovered nicely and should be full-go. With 56 receptions for 778 yards and a respectable 13.9 yards per catch average, Miller became the first Raiders tight end since Ethan Horton in 1991 to catch 50 or more passes in a season.

Coach Tom Cable believes Miller’s stats can be better with the right tight end to “marry up” (Cable’s words, not mine) with him. Hence the selection of Brandon Myers out of Iowa, who in theory can be the block-and-release player in two tight-end sets while Miller does what he does best _ find open areas in the middle of the field.

It could also help Miller be more of a threat in the red zone, where the one receiver JaMarcus Russell truly trusts drops off in terms of production. Of Miller’s 100 receptions in two years, only four have been four touchdowns _ just one last season.

Strong’s strong training camp showing won him a spot on the practice squad and a late promotion to the 53-man roster. Foschi can play either fullback or tight end but will be hardpressed to make the final 53.

The key battle: Myers vs. Stewart. Myers is already under contract, according to his agent (no confirmation from the Raiders, of course), and when contact drills begin will be able to show off the blocking skills which make him a good match for Miller in two tight-end sets. Stewart is a steady veteran, the team’s player rep, and in Miller’s absence showed a good pair of hands during the mandatory minicamp and OTAs. The Raiders would love to see Myers assert himself as the second tight end, but Stewart won’t be moved easily.

What I think: With the wide receiver position sorting itself out, Miller will remain Russell’s most reliable receiver as well as a strong secondary option. When Miller signed his contract, the Raiders were a running joke among agents and front-office types because they paid him about a million more than they needed to, considering what players were paid in front of him and behind him in the draft order. Maybe they did, but turns out it was money well spent.

What could go wrong: Injuries, of course. There isn’t a tight end on the roster with Miller’s knack for getting open over the middle or with his potential to be a big part of the offense.

The Robbins interview

Caught Barret Robbins’ interview with Andrea Kremer on Real Sports Tuesday night, and it was very similar to the interview Kremer landed for ESPN the last time the former center was in recovery.

Robbins has stood up and taken responsibility before, only to slip right back into the cycle of manic depression and substance abuse that nearly killed him. You pull for him because when of right mind he seems to have a good heart. But the only proof will be when days and years pass, with Robbins staying the course and regaining a relationship with his family.

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Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • AZ Raider

    O,

    Kids and drugs mix fine in Arizona… Ask Matt Lienert.

  • Nnamdi21

    The fact Oakland passed on both Lienart and Vince Young should go as a credit toward our scouting.

    Jerry, as always, thank you for your work. Do you think we’ll go with only 2 TE’s and 7 LB’s? Seems to remember this broguth up in an earlier post…

    I like Strong and think we got him cuzza a couple of incidents on field and off.

    Could develop slowly into a decent back up for Miller…

  • Nnamdi21

    Raider Revolution!~

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DGfXAvgknM

    Al Davis as “Dr. X”

  • Mistabrown

    Because KK everybody but you is aware there was no rape. The woman is trying to get paid. Ben is no more guilty than Kobe was. Your overzealous use of the race card makes you look like the idiot you likely are.

    # KoolKell Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Ben Rothlisberger accused of Rape

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/07/22/sports/football/22roethlisberger.html?em

    I don’t see all the self-righteous indignation from the Podunk County types this morning. Funny that.

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Nnamdi21,

    I don’t think we passed on Vince Young, but we did pass on Cutler…and I for one would much rather have had Cutler as our QB and no Michael Huff…

  • Nnamdi21

    Cops are human beings.

    They have good days

    They have bad days

    They deal with the ugliness and horror we are capable of visiting on each other.

    They don’t do it for the pay

    They do it for you

    For me

    For all

    Respect.

    I wouldn’t want to.

    Theres too many people I might think just needed shot…

    “Skip to the front of the line!”

    Seriously though, tough job. Thanks for bein’ there…

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    Kick this one around: Will, Andrew get cut before camp opens next week? Or…

    Will, Al be the spiteful sob that he can be, and keep him on the roster until the end of camp. Just so Walter’s chances of landing on another team are diminished?

  • AZ Raider

    Before camp!

  • Nnamdi21

    107. He could keep him because he knows the system and is an experienced Raider back up…LOL! Ok, ok, I know, just kidding…

  • AZ Raider

    Walters chances are better landing a team after camp, incase someone else doesnt pan out, Walter will be waiting by the phone.

  • Mistabrown

    AZ, who is Walters? I looked on the depth chart & all I could find is Andrew Walter.

  • AZ Raider

    Good attention to detail Mista… Kudos and a cookie!

  • jhill

    Cutler + Tom Walsh = ?????

    Cutler + that offensive line = ????

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    Huff = crap

  • http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/63/60563-004-52A399D4.jpg Dakota

    jhill, what do you think of the Odom rumors? Back to the Lakers for 4 years $40 mill…

  • Mistabrown

    Sorry AZ slow day..

  • AZ Raider

    No prob MB, I’m with ya…

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    Jhill # 113…
    Cutler + Tom Walsh =?????

    Cutler + that offensive line =????
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    See: Walter, Andrew

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Nnamdi21 Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Cops are human beings.

    They have good days

    They have bad days

    They deal with the ugliness and horror we are capable of visiting on each other.

    They don’t do it for the pay

    They do it for you

    For me

    For all
    ————————–
    Bullshyt, they do it to throw their wieght around.

  • Mistabrown

    Make it chocolate chip.

  • jhill

    LO is wearing out his welcome. I barely wanted him back in the beggining, and it is more of “awww give the guy a chance” that we NEED him to repeat.

    I would actually try and send him to elsewhere in a sign and trade, and bolster the bench. Sasha, Farmar, and Odom can all go. I’d rather have a Mike Miller, Linas Klieza, Hinrich, Outlaw, and a few other guys. We don’t need Luke AND LO with Artest on board AND a healthy Bynum.

  • AZ Raider

    Huff = Hotseat!

    Kelly = Hotseat!

    Chargers = Cr@p!

    Chiefs = Cr@p!

    Broncos = Cr@p!

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Mistabrown Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Because KK everybody but you is aware there was no rape. The woman is trying to get paid
    ————————–
    You don’t know that, you name-calling little bag of pus.

    You assume he’s not guilty, like you assume McNair deserved to die.

  • 24

    You guys have brought some comedy to the boards today man.

  • AZ Raider

    Man, you know it’s slow when your bored with your own posts LOL…

    Go ahead Bo, Dude, whoever else… Say it.. :)

  • 24

    What did everyone think of Cable’s play calling last year?

  • AZ Raider

    24,

    Check out Dakota and post#24 STILL L’ingMFAO!!!!

  • AZ Raider

    Loved everything but the fake fieldgoal 24… We were just talking about that earlier. Seemed a little aggressive, did Cable! I liked it…

  • 24

    If Roethlisberger is guilty of anything, its putting himself in a position for that to happen obviously. Now whether he is actually guilty or not is another thing but when you are famous, you must becareful. The girl could have been planted by a division foe for all we know. Sometimes, thats the only way to knock out the oppositions QB.

  • jhill

    To be honest, I think I am just offended – LMFAO at that – that LO hasn’t accepted the offer yet. I wanted his sorry arse gone for so many years, and actually wanted Artest instead. Now that it has actually happened, it was funny to me that I even was like, yeah, bring him back. But HOW DARE he – are you still laughing – slap us in the face with a strong arm!

    Lucky bahstud!

    And I REALLY don’t see him getting a lot of minutes, unless we see him at G. Kobe, Artest, Gasol, and Bynum will lead the team in minutes. Don’t bank on Bynum getting taken out by a team mate 3 straight years.

  • 24

    AZ…Thats why I mentioned the comedy. =)

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    I liked Cable’s playcalling too, once K Harris left the scene.

  • Mistabrown

    Post it.

    If I said anything about McNair I will leave this blog.

    waiting..

  • jhill

    Oline! Oline! Oline!

    At least 2 new starters from the end of the year, maybe 3 if one of the youngster can supplant Carlisle.

    We all know we can run block, but will this group finally give the QB time to throw?

  • Mistabrown

    Post it.

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    At least Cable opened up the playbook and took some chances, with of course that lame azz fake FG.

    Will be very anxious to see what Tollner & Hackett can add to it this year.

  • jhill

    Wait a minute …

    4 year, 40 million and he hasn’t signed that?!?!?!?

    Get that clown outta here!

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Mistabrown Says:
    July 22nd, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    KK you are a complete JackA$$.
    —————————-
    Some say the same about you. Dummy.

  • 24

    Cable was definitely more aggressive and I’m not mad at the fake field goal. You win some, you lose some and if it had worked, he’d be hailed for it but he counted on his players to get it done and they botched it. No big deal, he learned from it I think. You have to wonder whether Cable will ask his OC or QB Coach what plays to call at times and if he does…do you think Al Davis listens to that stuff? Do you think he has a radio setup in his room to hear the conversations? I think I would want one just for curiosity if I was the owner. I’d want to know what was called, who called it and how the outcome was.

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    lame azz fake FG, being the exception….errrr

  • 24

    What game was the fake field goal in again?

  • Mistabrown

    Exactly! I never mentioned McNair but you are like much like PokeGlenn when you have no defense you resort to lying.

    You are a worthless puke.

  • 24

    Video of LeBron James getting dunked on.

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/TMZ-posts-anticlimactic-video-of-LeBron-getting-?urn=nba,178138

    I don’t see what the big deal is.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    24

    To you question about playcaling input to Cable. I was very impressed with Cable when DMac called his own number in the Denver game for a goal line TD. Good way for the players to feel ownership of the product. Team spirit.

  • AZ Raider

    i would rather he kicked the FG then onside kicked like in the Texas game (too bad we lost Baker :( )…

    i would have liked to see more DMAC and BUSH earier too, but thats depth chart, not play calling…

  • AZ Raider

    Dang Mista, the vibe was so calm today…

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    MistaBrownStains,

    Go jump off a building and put yourself out of your misery.

  • AZ Raider

    Fake field goal in KC and cost us the sweep!

  • http://justwinbaby! 909RaiderLifer

    KC game at home.

  • AZ Raider

    Oh yeah, vs not at… KC that is :)