Raiders Want TE Zach Miller To Attack The End Zone

San Francisco Chronicle - [Full Article]

Obviously, Oakland Raiders coach Tom Cable has a laundry list of things to work on after another 11-loss season. Tight end Zach Miller shouldn't be anywhere near that list after leading the team in receiving yards for the second straight season.

But he is, as Cable pointed out Friday at training camp in Napa.

"We have done a poor job of utilizing him in the red zone," Cable said. "If you just start right there, see where he would impact that part of the field, that would really raise his game to a whole new level."

Miller has raised his level of play each of his first three seasons in the league, improving his receptions from 44 to 56 to 66 and his receiving yards from 444 to 778 to 805. But his touchdown numbers have stayed grounded: three to one to three.

"That's definitely, easily, one of the biggest things we have to get done," Miller said. "If you look around, tight ends are huge in the red zone on other teams. We haven't had a lot of scoring chances, especially last year, but I know that is a big point of emphasis - getting me the ball in the red zone. You see other tight ends in the league scoring a lot of touchdowns, and you get envious. You want to be in there celebrating the touchdowns, and I believe this year, finally, will be the year it comes."

With the acquisition of quarterback Jason Campbell, the Raiders are confident the offense will be improved. Miller was especially excited about the trade, because Campbell has a history of utilizing his tight ends.

"I knew he did, so as soon as he got here, let's make sure we develop that right off the bat, get some chemistry right away so we can do that here too," Miller said.

In the short time together at minicamp, summer workouts, and the first two days of training camp, it's obvious they're acing the chemistry test.

"Oh yeah," Miller said. "We started developing that rapport with each other. I started making plays for him and then you get that trust. He knows where I am going to be out of my breaks, he knows timing, what my routes look like."

Especially the ones to the end zone.

Fantasy Impact: 

Miller is also in a contract year, so he has ample incentive to increase his touchdown count. He may very well be on his way to his best season yet, but it's hard not to maintain some skeptism about the Raiders, even with Jason Campbell being an upgrade over JaMarcus Russell. Don't reach for Zach on draft day, as he's currently at 11 in our rankings. Still, Miller is good enough to be a weekly starter in 12-team leagues, and is worth using frequently in 10-team leagues as he'll have plenty of decent matchups.

Filed Under: 2010, Preseason

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