Four days ago Raider Nation was bemoaning the loss of Zach Miller. 24 hours ago the laments of Miller Time were replaced with a simple question – Zach who? Kevin Boss wanted to be a Raider and Al Davis was more than happy to oblige.
Now let’s not get this situation confused with the emotions of a scorned Hugh Hefner replacing his runaway fiancée with a new skank. Miller is among the best offensive tight ends in the NFL. His production is irreplaceable.
However Boss brings some things to the table that Miller didn’t.
While Boss will never be the threat to take a pass and go 80-yards to the house like Miller was, he does have good hands and is a chain mover on third down. At 6’6” Boss gives Jason Campbell what every QB dreams of, a massive check down target that can keep drives alive when plays fall apart.
In addition Boss comes from a New York Giants team that has many similarities to the Raiders. Like the Raiders the Giants are a run-first offense. Like the Raiders the Giants like the power running game where backs spend more time between the tackles than outside of them. Boss flourished as a blocker in New York. Naturally he’ll be instrumental in helping to build Hue Jackson’s bully in Oakland.
Beyond the work Boss does in the trenches he also provides a service Miller never did. Boss is a red zone weapon. While Miller was dynamic from most everywhere on the field he was nearly invisible inside the 20. Boss is the prototypical red zone threat every NFL team desires.
Since he’s known as a blocker, Coach Jackson can utilize Boss by running the big tight end into the end zone on delays. Boss can fake blocking for a second or two before slipping past unsuspecting defenders where his 6’6” frame can go up and get balls high above the heads of smaller opponents.
While all of this is meant to take a positive approach to the loss of Miller and the gain of Boss, there is a harsh reality to the situation. Somebody is going to have to step up.
The loss of Miller means the time has come for the young receivers to take a big leap forward. Boss is going to be great once the team gets into the red zone but let’s not forget how the Raiders got there so often in the past. Usually it was due to the efforts of Miller.
Chaz Schilens has got to stay healthy. Louis Murphy has got to get consistent. Jacoby Ford needs to remain hungry. Denarius Moore must prove he’s not just a camp hero. Darrius Heyward-Bey…well…he just needs to prove something. Perhaps the man that can help the most in replacing Miller’s production in the passing game isn’t even a receiver. But we’re not here to talk about all that Darren McFadden brings to the table.
All in all Boss is, perhaps, a more appropriate fit for the Raiders at this point in time. There are things he does much better than Miller and there are others he’ll never be mentioned in the same sentence as Miller for. Overall his presence will be welcomed with open arms from Raider Nation. Boss is a Raider, Miller isn’t. In the end that’s all that really matters.