Wide receiver Brandon LaFell expands role in Raiders’ offense

After signing with the Raiders on Sept. 3, receiver Brandon LaFell played just 40 offensive snaps in their first six games and did not have a catch.

On Sunday against the Colts, LaFell led the Raiders’ receivers by playing 46 snaps and had three catches for 39 yards, including a 6-yard touchdown.
Despite his limited early use, several Raiders said they weren’t surprised to see LaFell take on a larger role in the team’s first game since the trade of Amari Cooper.

“He’s a pro,” receiver Jordy Nelson said. “He’s a veteran that, the moment he came in, he learned the playbook, learned all the positions. We could throw him out there at all three (receiver) positions and he could know what to do. He’s prepared.”

LaFell, 31, previously played for the Panthers (2010-13), Patriots (2014-15) and Bengals (2016-17). He had 52 receptions for 548 yards and three touchdowns last season for Cincinnati and was released by the Bengals in August, reportedly at his request.
Offensive coordinator Greg Olson said not playing right away gave LaFell a chance to get comfortable with the Raiders’ scheme, but that he “picked it up quickly.”
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“His work ethic out here, his preparation since he’s been here, has been outstanding,” Olson said. “So we knew there wouldn’t be much of a falloff just based on the preparation part.”
After the Raiders’ 42-28 loss Sunday, LaFell said his intent with the team had been to “fit in with the offense, get open within the offense and do whatever these guys need me to do. Whether it be starting or coming off the bench, whenever my number is called, just go out there and try to make a play.”
Of his 28 pass attempts Sunday, quarterback Derek Carr threw 16 to running backs or tight end Jared Cook. He targeted receivers LaFell, Nelson and Seth Roberts four times each. Martavis Bryant, who played seven snaps, and Dwayne Harris did not have an official target.
Carr said he has noted how LaFell finishes routes on plays on which he’s unlikely to get the ball.
“He always runs friendly routes, so he can play with anybody,” Carr said. “I’m glad that we had some time to work and all those things. But he’s the kind of guy that you can throw him in and just play.”

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