July 18, 2024

He’s got me and everyone else fooled. Luke Steckel heap praise on Raiders secret weapon…

The offensive passing game was the one area that the Las Vegas Raiders’ coaching scheme plan for the 2024 season was most impacted. Yes, after the team unexpectedly selected Georgia tight end Brock Bowers in the draft, new offensive coordinator Luke Getsy and tight end coach Luke Steckel must get to work. Now, they have to figure out how to acquire both Bowers and Michael Mayer, a 2023 second-round pick who was anticipated to start before the draft.

As the season approaches, Steckel has acknowledged that the strategy for playing Bowers and Mayer would change based on the opposition.

“Yeah, it’s probably not an answer we give in the spring, a lot of that stuff will be determined on a game-by-game basis,” Steckel said at a recent OTA session. “The number one quality of great coaches is great players. And I’m very fortunate because I got some great players in our room and being able to use the skill sets of both those guys because I think they match well off of each other … It’s just going to be on a week-to-week basis, how can we use them best to attack what the defense is showing on film. But it’s nice when you have guys that have that versatility. Mike can do a lot of things. Brock can do a lot of things. The rest of the tight ends have a very defined and versatile skill set, so I’m excited once we do get to the season of seeing how we can pair those guys and work through it, but yeah, excited to have both those guys in our room.”

Steckel knows the addition of Bowers in the draft will help the Raiders; exploit opposing defenses and a big reason why is Bowers’ versatility to line up in several different alignments.

“ A lot of tight end rooms, you might not be spending time on certain routes in the pass game because you might not have guys with the skill set to go execute certain routes in our route tree,” Steckel said. But he’s certainly a guy, and he’s definitely not the only one in our room that you can line up in the slot, you can line him up out wide and you can use him in a variety ways. And that’s something we work through as a coaching staff, where can we put our players in the best position to succeed? Right now, we’re throwing a lot against the wall and we’re trying to figure out what sticks. So, that’s for Brock personally, but that’s for us as an offense as a whole. That’s what this part of the year is about. It’s about installing your playbook, figuring out what we’re good at, what we’re not, what Brock’s good at, what he’s not, and vice versa for all of our players. So really once we get that figured out, when you define a role for everybody, that’s when you really start to take off.”

Steckel’s excitement about his tight-end room extends much past what Bowers brings to the offense. Mayer is also a weapon the Raiders plan on unleashing after he showed promise as a rookie under the previous offensive coaching staff. Mayer had 27 catches for 304 yards as a rookie. Steckel expects more explosion from Mayer in 2024.

“Mike Mayer has been outstanding. Like I cannot say enough good things about Mike Mayer, his professional approach for a guy that’s only in his second year,” Stecekl said. “He’s got me and everyone else fooled. I mean, the leadership he’s shown in the room, the energy he brings every day. He’s an incredible teammate. He’s encouraging his fellow teammates, his fellow tight ends, the entire offense. I mean, I can’t say enough good things. He’s been absolutely outstanding. I had really high expectations because of his reputation as a player and as a person before I got here, and he’s exceeded all of those. I mean, if there’s a fan club, I’m the president of the Mike Mayer fan club. He’s been outstanding. It’s been a real pleasure being able to coach him because he’s eager to learn. As you mentioned, we’re still all in this learning process. We’re trying to lay the foundation right now in OTAs. You’re not going to win any games in April or May, but you’re building that foundation to win games. Mike’s been outstanding.”

So, it’s clear the Raiders’ coaching staff is excited about the possibilities of their two tight ends and they believe the two players are up for the challenge.

“So, those two guys, are they competing every day with each other? Absolutely. That’s the expectation we have for them, but you wouldn’t know that by watching how they interact. They’re extremely encouraging of each other,” Steckel said. “I talked about Mike being a great teammate. That’s something I preach in our room, is we got to be the best teammates on the team. And I’ve seen that from all of our guys, encouraging, helping out. Brock’s not saying a whole lot right now. He understands his role. He’s a rookie, he’s in the position of taking advice rather than giving it right now, but when he does see something, I think he’s confident enough to speak up. To watch the interaction between those two specifically, and really the entire room, has been really encouraging.”

The plan using Bowers and Mayer may change week-to-week, but the fun should be the same each game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *