The tight ends have been the stars of training camp, with Derek Carr often throwing to his new 6-foot-5, 254-pound target, Jared Cook; Lee Smith, Clive Walford and Gabe Holmes have looked very good as well.
“We haven’t really gotten our tight-end position going as much as I’d like,” Del Rio said. “I think we’ve really addressed that. I think you’re going to see a team that can utilize the tight-end position more in their offensive plan and attack.
“Jared Cook opens up a lot of possibilities and Clive being in much better shape and healthier than he’s been, probably in a while, helps.”
Carr has been ecstatic about his new toy.
“When you add a guy like Jared Cook that runs a 4.3 or a 4.4 and he can outrun DBs on go-routes, (you) can throw him out wide and run different kinds of routes with him,” Carr said. “We can do that kind of stuff because he is that talented.”
Once Cook returned from his high-ankle sprain in Week 10, the Packers made a concerted effort to involve him in the offense. Over the final 10 games (including the playoffs) he averaged 4.2 catches for 55 yards and 0.30 touchdowns per game. That equates to 11.5 PPG, or low-end TE1 numbers. He joins the Raiders, who have not featured the tight end in the passing game in recent years. Oakland tight ends saw a total of 83 targets in 2016, which was the 4th-fewest in the league. The Cook acquisition may be the team’s attempt to change this.