With the NFL Combine in full swing this week, Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels checked in with the media. Among the topics discussed, McDaniels touched on the matter of tight end Darren Waller. Let’s face it: Waller was one of the most polarizing topics within Raider Nation this past season.
McDaniels’ offense showed flashes of brilliance at times during 2022. However, it was clear that something was missing. Picking up and adapting to this new offense was going to be a process. More importantly, no one knew that better than Waller. Even before going down, he had only recorded one touchdown in the first four games while failing to cross the century mark in yardage. A nagging hamstring injury kept him out from Week 7 until Week 15 against the New England Patriots.
Despite the disappointing run, Josh McDaniels is keenly aware of Waller’s struggles and the fight it took to get back on the field.
“I know Darren fought through a lot of injuries and those types of things last year. But I have a great deal of confidence in Darren Waller. I felt like he ended the season the right way, really playing well. Still, you know, fast, explosive, great teammate, very smart. And he’ll be a big part of what we’re going to do going forward.”
The most important thing to take away from McDaniels’ assessment is that Darren Waller did in fact show off some of the old explosiveness. Along with catching two touchdowns in the final stretch of four games, Waller also averaged no less than 14.50 yards per reception. Let’s not forget that McDaniels has coached up some of the most dominant NFL tight ends in recent memory. If he’s finally healthyâ€”a big ifâ€”there’s no reason to think McDaniels won’t help turn around Waller’s recent misfortunes. What do you think, Raiders fans?
*Top Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images