ALAMEDA. Calif. -- The tight end position used to be one of pass-catching strength for the Oakland Raiders of recent vintage, let alone the Super Bowl-winning glory days of Dave Casper, Raymond Chester and Todd Christensen.
Zach Miller led the Raiders in receptions three straight years, with 56 in 2008, 66 in 2009 and 60 in his Pro Bowl season of 2010. Brandon Myers led Oakland with 79 catches last year. Even Kevin Boss caught 28 passes in 2011.
This year, with Miller in his third year with the Seattle Seahawks and Myers in his first season with the New York Giants, the Raiders have a total of 20 catches for 245 yards and a touchdown from rookie Mychal Rivera and Jeron Mastrud. Rookie Nick Kasa has been used primarily on special teams.
David Ausberry was the projected starter, but he was lost for the season to a shoulder injury in the preseason. And he Raiders have been playing catch-up at the position ever since.
"That's an area we'd like to see a little bit more production from," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of his tight ends. "I think those guys are going in there and battling and doing the things they're capable of doing. But yeah, that's an area we could use a little bit more production."
Sunday at 1 p.m. ET, the Raiders get an up-close-and-personal look at Myers, who has 23 receptions for 265 yards and a TD.
"Brandon has done a good job at tight end," Giants quarterback Eli Manning said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.
"He's a smart guy. He's done a good job at just understanding our offense. We move him around and put him in some protections, get him on some options routes, so he's done a good job understanding everything and making some plays for us."