Raiders’ Darren Waller Has Strong Message for Detractors

darren waller derek carr

Getty Darren Waller & Derek Carr of the Las Vegas Raiders.

For the first time since Week 5, the Las Vegas Raiders had their full treasure chest of offensive weapons against the New England Patriots. Tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow returned after their five-week stints on Injured Reserve. Though the Raiders are mostly out of the playoff race, they needed to get both of them back on the field so they can get a better idea of how good the offense can be.

It was especially important for Waller. He missed six games last season and this season is already a dud for him. The Raiders have him a contract extension in the offseason but there were rumors that the team was getting frustrated with his lack of availability and some fans have come out hard against Waller. It didn’t take long in the game for him to prove how valuable he can be to the team. He caught a 25-yard touchdown in the second quarter against the Patriots that gave the team a 10-3 lead.

For Waller’s touchdown celebration, he waved to the crowd. He revealed that the wave wasn’t to remind people that he was back, but it was a message directed at his biggest detractors from while he was injured.

“I mean, probably the people that were like ‘where is he at? Why is he dropping music videos?'” Waller said after the game when asked who he was waving to. “I was just having fun.”

It’s been a frustrating season for the tight end but he enjoyed getting back on the field with his teammates.

“It was a lot of fun,” Waller said. “It felt like a party. Having the guys come in and celebrate with you and have a good time, everybody telling you it’s good to have you back, it just feels like family.”

Waller Played Less Than Half of Raiders’ Snaps

With Waller missing eight straight games, the Raiders weren’t ready to give him a heavy workload in his return. According to Pro Football Reference, he played 33 offensive snaps, which accounted for just 49% of the Raiders’ offensive snaps. He made the most of it by catching all three of his targets for 48 yards. Waller just wanted to do what he could to help the team this week.

“I felt like I made the most of the opportunities I had and ran efficient routes,” Waller said. “The Patriots do a really good job of disguising, so reading the coverage was a bit of a challenge, and I feel I did pretty well with that for the most part.”

Derek Carr Talks Waller’s Return

The Raiders should be upping Waller’s snap count next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. If the team wants any chance of getting into the playoffs, they have to win the rest of their games. Getting Waller back in the flow of things would be a huge boost. Quarterback Derek Carr was happy to have his star tight end back.

“I think everyone likes seeing Darren run down the middle of the field again, with how tall he is, how fast he is, seeing him get in the end zone again,” Carr said. “It was good for Raider fans to see him back out there and see Hunter [Renfrow] out there.”

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