ALAMEDA — He’s only caught 32 total passes in his NFL carreer, but that doesn’t matter.
This season, Raiders tight end Brandon Myers, after only three modest years of professional experience, will be asked — and expected — to be the big man on the gridiron.
“I’m expecting him to produce like an NFL tight end,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said of Myers. “That’s why he’s here.”
Although Allen’s premier tight end may be the most experienced current player on the Raiders’ roster at that position, the 27-year-old has only started a mere 12 games in his career. And in his previous three years in Oakland, Myers has amassed 250 receiving yards, 151 of which came last season.
But Allen seems not to be a stickler for stats.
“Now, I don’t know what those numbers are, that’s not for me to determine,” Allen said. “I’m not going to put a ceiling on it. But I expect him to play like an NFL-caliber tight end. That’s what he is.”
But stickler or no, the Raiders have been hurting for tight end production since Zach Miller’s departure after the 2010 season. And this year’s loss of Kevin Boss, who caught 28 passes for 368 yards in 2011, doesn’t help.
But regardless of his production or lack thereof, Myers places value on the past three years.
“The more you’re out there, the more the game kind of slows down for you,” Myers said. “You can use that to an advantage. With some of the young guys we’ve got — when you first get out there, things are happening so fast. Once you get some more reps and time on the field, it slows down.”
The other “young guys” at tight end include Richard Gordon and David Ausberry, both of who are in their sophomore seasons and who share two starts between them.
Yet veteran quarterback Carson Palmer, who kicks off his 10th season when the Raiders host the San Diego Chargers on Monday night, is already honing in on his big targets.
“Brandon is going to be in there the majority of the time, but it’s kind of a three-headed monster with Big Rich, and then David too. But Brandon’s been super consistent catching the football,” Palmer said, noting Myers’ deep receiving and blocking ability. “But we expect a lot, ‘cause in this offense, tight end, there’s a lot on that position’s shoulders in this offense. From what we’ve seen of Brandon, we know he can handle it.”
As for his quarterback’s three-headed monster reference, Myers refuses to buy into it.
“I don’t want to call it that,” he said. “We gotta go out there and prove ourselves.”
Myers — and company — will begin that process Monday.