Even though Mychal Rivera never played a down for Butch Jones at Tennessee, he still can’t escape one of Jones’ favorite words — foundation.
The former Volunteer tight end was recently identified by Oakland Raiders head coach Dennis Allen as a potential “foundation player” in the Raiders offense.
Rivera, who was drafted by the Raiders in the 6th round in 2013, played in 16 games for Oakland last season and caught 38 passes for 407 yards and four touchdowns. That’s not bad considering the Raiders had a less than ideal offensive situation.
Unfortunately for Rivera, it doesn’t look like the Raiders’ offense is going to be any better in 2014.
Oakland acquired former Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub this off-season. Schaub was benched last season by the Texans, but Allen believes he’s a quarterback that’s on par with Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers.
While Schaub isn’t necessarily as terrible as he looked last season, it’d be a HUGE stretch to put him in the neighborhood of Manning or the vastly underrated Rivers.
But the good news for Mychal Rivera is that Schaub does love to throw to his tight ends. Tight end Owen Daniels, when healthy, excelled with Schaub at quarterback in Houston.
If the Raiders truly want Rivera to be a cornerstone of their offense, they’ll have to get him a lot more involved in his second season.
Rivera proved last season, in a limited role, that he could be a key part of the offense. He now has a golden opportunity to break out in a big way in 2014.