Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Raiders-Seahawks matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m., at CenturyLink Stadium.
Raiders TE Mychal Rivera vs. Seahawks SS Kam Chancellor
Tale of the tape:
Rivera (81): 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, second season, Tennessee
Chancellor (31): 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, fifth season, Virginia Tech
Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera had his best game of the season Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, securing six catches for 83 yards.
That was supposed to be the norm following a strong rookie season, but it’s become an aberration.
Rivera’s production has waned this year working with rookie quarterback Derek Carr, who uses James Jones as his outlet under duress.
Rivera can be a threat in the middle of the field, and coaches say he’s doing the right things to be an attractive receiving option.
That said, he remains a work in progress.
“Mychal is a young player who is still getting better,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “There were a lot of high expectations for him, but he is a developing player. He wasn’t a ready made pro when he got here. He got better as a rookie and he had a good offseason, but by no means is he anywhere near as good as he will be in this league.”
The Raiders passing game runs better when Rivera’s an active producer, and that’s something the Seahawks would prefer to avoid. They use a number of players to cover tight ends, but Chancellor is particularly effective against them as part of a strong, notoriously physical secondary.
Rivera must produce despite tough coverage and be an outlet for Carr for the offense to produce better than he has in recent weeks.