NFL

Raiders coach Jon Gruden says Darren Waller is the best player he’s ever coached

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Raiders defeated the Baltimore Ravens in an overtime thriller, 33-27, to cap Week 1 in the NFL. After scoring just 10 points in the first three quarters, Derek Carr’s offense scored 17 in the fourth quarter, and then the final touchdown in overtime to secure the season-opening victory. 

Star tight end Darren Waller was naturally a huge part of the Las Vegas offensive game plan, as he caught 10 passes for 105 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown that tied the game at 24 apiece. Waller was targeted a whopping 19 times in the passing game on his 29th birthday, which set a career-high for the Georgia Tech product.

Following the win, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden simply couldn’t contain his praise for Waller, and dubbed him as the best player he has ever coached.

“We threw it 60 times. If you throw 60 times, you’d probably target him 29,” Gruden said, via Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review Journal. “He’s the best player I’ve ever coached, so I’m going to continue to look for him.”

That’s certainly high praise from Gruden, especially considering that he has coached some NFL offensive legends such as Jerry Rice, Tim Brown and Mike Alstott. According to NFL.com, Waller tied for the most targets in a single game by a Raiders player since 1992. As for tight ends, only Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez recorded more in a single game since 1992. 

Waller had a career year in 2020, as he caught 107 passes for 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s certainly on track for another career campaign, and will continue to be the focal point of the Raiders’ offensive attack. 



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