Oakland Raiders' Wounded Warriors: Kevin Boss Edition
I just want that to resonate for a bit.
The impact of a healthy Kevin Boss is vital to the success of not only Jason Campbell but it's crucial for Darren McFadden, Michael Bush and Taiwan Jones. Currently, Boss is listed as "week to week" with a sprained knee.
Boss came to the Raiders as a free agent and a former New York Giant. As a Giant he was not used in the receiving game as Zach Miller was in Oakland. That's because the Giants had a far superior receiving corps.
In New York, Boss was known as a reliable, big target and an above average blocker. He comes to the Raiders to replace Miller, a tight end who led the team in receiving yards the last three years. A fact which not only speaks to the lack of quality receivers, but to the hype in Millers' statistics.
Miller is a good tight end, don't get me wrong. He is not an elite tight end by any stretch of the imagination. With what Seattle paid for him, I could only wave goodbye with a smile on my face. When we signed Boss for half the money Seattle coughed up for Miller I thought it was a great move. If Boss were surrounded by the same weak wide receiver corps that Miller had I have no doubt he would put up equally impressive stats.
The fact is that Boss will be a superior blocker to Miller, and if he approaches 60 receptions this year he will put up comparable stats to any of Millers' years with the team.
Many people forget that being the only target is almost as ideal as being the overlooked target. I see defenses game planning to stop McFadden, Bush, Denarius Moore, Jacoby Ford, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Louis Murphy, Chaz Schilens(God willing), Marcel Reece, Taiwan Jones and oh yeah, Kevin Boss.
I'm seeing some wide open pockets of green for Mr. Boss to become real comfortable.
Boss has been seen vigorously riding an exercise bike at practice and that bodes well for a timely return to action. With two preseason games left, I look forward to seeing if David Ausberry and Richard Gordon can step up and take advantage of the opportunity before Boss returns.
If Ausberry can continue to build on his strong camp and preseason he will demand some targets come regular season. He has shown himself to be a playmaker in the receiving department, and polishing his blocking skills might be the only thing standing between him and game changing production.
If Gordon can show himself serviceable as a pass-catcher his blocking skills might squeeze Brandon Myers out of a job. Building a bully might take some two tight end sets and power football near the goal line. The 6'4" 266lbs Gordon is just what the Raiders need to help impose their will on defenses this year.
Brandon Myers is thought to be an Al Davis favorite, but watching tape of him trying to block and being dominated can't go over well in the meeting rooms. I know he contributes on special teams but that alone won't keep him on the team this year.
If Boss can remain healthy this year and allow some time for Ausberry and Gordon to grow, this could be a very special unit to watch and a key piece to a Playoff run for the Oakland Raiders in 2011.
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