By Ryan Leong
Brandon Myers, TE #83
Weight: 256 lbs.
Hometown: Prairie City, Iowa
Experience: 4th season
Along with wide receiver Denarius Moore, fourth-year tight end Brandon Myers from Iowa has become the go-to target of quarterback Carson Palmer. Myers ranks 11th among tight ends in the league in receiving yards with 228. He has 16 catches in four games so far this season. With an average of 14.3 yards per catch, he ranks third in that category.
Earlier this season, Myers had a streak where he was targeted 15 times and caught all 15 passes. Now he’s 16-of-17 this season after catching only one pass for 22 yards in the Raiders Week Four loss at Denver. He has yet to score a touchdown, but he is still off to the best season of his young career . He is one of the few bright spots on a Raiders team that is severely under performing on offense.
He missed some time this season in training camp with a shoulder injury. Right now, Myers has to split playing time with teammates David Ausberry and Richard Gordon. Gordon caught his first TD in Oakland’s only win vs. the Steelers back on September 23.
Myers is an important playmaker. His catch on the Raiders’ final drive in their 34-31 win over the Steelers was pivotal. On 3rd-and-10 from the Raiders’ 25, Palmer’s pass to Myers over the middle was a 15-yard gain, good for a first down. The drive ended on Sebastian Janikowski’s game-winning field goal.
A tight end is a difficult position because it requires that player to block linebackers, creating holes in the defense for the receivers. Then you have to have speed to run routes and get open as another option to catch a pass.
A sixth-round draft pick, Myers played four years at the University of Iowa where he totaled 56 receptions for 665 yards and nine touchdowns.
He was named All-Big Ten by conference coaches in his senior season when he ranked third on the team in receptions (34) and receiving yards (441). He was tied for the team lead with four touchdown catches. In the 2009 Outback Bowl, he led Iowa receivers with four catches for 49 yards against South Carolina. He also has a successful junior season when he caught a career-best five touchdowns and had 21 receptions for 201 yards.
Myers had to wait his turn at the position, first serving as a backup to Zach Miller and then to Kevin Boss. But under offensive coordinator Greg Knapp, the tight end is utilized much more often, so this position is getting double the number of pass attempts the team saw under last year’s head coach, Hue Jackson.
For the Houston Texans in 2010 and 2011, tight ends were targeted 124 times, compared to just 61 by the Raiders. Boss, in his only season wearing the Silver and Black, caught only 28 passes for three touchdowns in 2011.
If Myers can start scoring a few touchdowns, that’ll be a welcome sign for a Raiders team that ranks 25th out of the 32 teams on offense.
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Ryan Leong has reported on over 2,800 games in the Bay Area since 1998, covering the Sharks, Giants, A’s, Warriors, 49ers, Raiders and the local college teams for radio networks and wire services. Having the best seat in the house to watch sports has been a thrill and Ryan still enjoys going to the games giving fans some insight and perspective on the players and coaches. His work can be found on Examiner.com.