By Steve Corkran
Monday, August 6th, 2012 at 2:13 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Brandon Myers has been down this road for now, so forgive him if he’s taking in stride his role as the projected starting tight end.
He felt as if he was in line for the starting job around this time last year, too, only to have the Raiders go out and sign veteran Kevin Boss to a multi-year contract on the heels of incumbent Zach Miller signing with the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s been almost five months since the Raiders released Boss, and Myers remains the most-experienced tight end on the roster, at least in terms of receptions.
So far, so good for Myers in his quest to finally emerge as a starter in his fourth NFL season.
“He’s kind of worked himself into the No. 1 guy,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “But, I don’t know … that depth chart is consistently changing. He’s No. 1 right now but two weeks down the road we’ll see where he’s at.”
Myers said he is approaching his job the same way he does each season.
“I’ve prepared like I’m the starter, even when you got a guy like Zach ahead of you, or Kevin, you’ve got to prepare like you’re the starter,” Myers said Monday. “A lot of things happen. It’s nothing I’ve done different. It’s just that I’ve got an opportunity and try to make the plays when I’ve got the opportunity.”
Second-year players David Ausberry and Richard Gordon, as well as fifth-year player Troy Humphrey are competing with Myers for the starting spot, as well as what figures to be three roster spots for tight ends.
Ausberry is a converted wide receiver who brings speed and athleticism to the position. Gordon is deemed the best blocker by Allen. Humphrey is a solid all-around player.
Myers said the goal is for he and the other tight ends to show Allen, offensive coordinator Greg Knapp and quarterback Carson Palmer that they can be valuable assets.
“Yeah, you’d like to think that,” Myers said about the decision to part ways with Boss and go with the other tight ends being a vote of confidence. “But you’ve still got to go out and get the job done. That’s what we’re doing here.
“Having the coach trust you, and Carson and Matt (Leinart), we’re just building every day, every day. Hopefully when the season starts, they’ll have total faith in tight ends and we’ll make some plays.”
Allen said he has been impressed with Myers’ play through the first week-plus of training camp.
“He’s done a nice job of trying to be consistent,” Allen said. “From a receiving standpoint, that’s probably where he’s a little bit more advanced as far as knowing what to do and where to be. We have to continue to work with him on the physical part of the game and the run blocking.
“Again, I’ve said this all along, with the tight ends that we have we’ve got some versatility and each guy has a skill set that we plan on trying to use.”
Myers caught 16 passes last season, and he has only 32 for 250 yards and no touchdowns in his three NFL seasons. He also has started only 12 games.
Those numbers figure to soar in a Knapp offense that features the tight ends. Myers said he and others are well aware of how Knapp uses the tight ends.
“Definitely,” Myers said. “Even in years past, we watched Houston, the way they used their tight ends, stuff like that. Once he came here, we kind of knew that was his background. As tight ends, you kind of like that. We were kind of phased out last year, so we were excited, I guess you could say.”