The first half of the Raiders preseason game against the Niners tonight was littered with stats from the usual suspects: handoffs to Darren McFadden, passes, missed in most cases, to Darrius Heyward-Bey and Zach Miller.
But with backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski at the helm in the third quarter, a new star (maybe?) emerged.
Brandon Myers, topped the charts for the Raiders with four receptions for 75 yards and one TD. He showed ability to run plays—at least someone was paying attention during training camp—and pull down tough passes, even in double coverage.
Less than half way into the third quarter, the Raiders made what would eventually be a TD drive where Myers came alive. A deep pass to the right side of the field that hit Myers, heavily guarded by Reggie Smith, took Oakland from midfield to the SF 23-yard line.
The second down of the next drive, Gradkowski hit Myers again in a screen play up the middle for another six yards and three plays later, Myers found himself on the right side of the endzone pulling down his first TD of the season.
The rookie was drafted in the sixth round of the 2009 draft as the 202nd pick. Many expected him to be more of an extra lineman rather than a pass catcher. And while he definitely showed he can be a strong blocking tight end, his ability to connect with his QB and get open downfield stood out.
Myers' play was cut short as the Raiders entered—and crumbled in—the fourth quarter. But for me, Myers' contribution to tonight's game was the only real spark Oakland had, with missed opportunities from Heyward-Bey and Miller.
Myers, who played at Iowa, is used to a Big Ten running game and a high caliber of blockers are born from the program. He proves to Cable that the Raiders do indeed have depth at the tight end position.