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Raiders OC Luke Getsy And The Tight End Position: A Deep Dive

Sat May 05, 2024, 5:17pm

It wasn’t enough to have 2023 second-round pick Michael Mayer and 2019 John Mackey Award winner Harrison Bryant in the Las Vegas Raiders’ tight end room. How could it be when the possibility of adding a back-to-back John Mackey Award winner (’22, ’23) and unanimous All-American (’23) such as Brock Bowers has become a reality right before your eyes? And as temptation won with the addition of Bowers, the Silver and Black’s tight end unit became not only one of the most promising in the AFC, but in the NFL as a whole.

And Luke Getsy, the offensive coordinator of the Raiders, is loving it.

“I’m extremely excited,” Getsy said when speaking on Brock Bowers. “I think it’s been said here plenty of times that he was probably the best player in the SEC for some time.

“Any time you can bring that type of player into your organization, you’re going to get better. And you match him, and you pair him with the talent that we already have here. I think it just makes you more dynamic.”

The versatility of Bowers certainly does make a team more dynamic. In all three of his seasons at Georgia, Bowers totaled more snaps in the slot than as a traditional in-line tight end. In 2022, the Raiders’ ’24 first-round pick totaled virtually twice as many snaps inside (259) than at tight end (133).

And that’s not all—Bowers can line up at wideout in a pinch. He was no stranger to this alignment in college, and his 6′ 4″ height combined with his 4.53 40-time—a 40-time quicker than both Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers—gives Bowers the tools to beat boundary corners.

But none of that is what bodes best with Luke Getsy.

Raiders’ OC Luke Getsy and his [recent] history with tight ends

The versatility of Bowers is truly impressive. Inside, outside, tight end, it doesn’t matter; the 21-year-old gets the job done. That’s not where his versatility stops, either. In his three-year collegiate career, Bowers totaled 193 rushing yards alongside five rushing touchdowns.

That last part is what Getsy has placed a premium on at the tight end position. No, not the ability to rush, but the ability to score touchdowns—something Bowers has done 26 times through the air in addition to his five on the ground.

Since rising to passing game coordinator in Green Bay, the Raiders’ new offensive coordinator has counted on whoever he deems as ‘TE1’ to score a multitude of touchdowns. In 2020, Getsy’s first year at the role with the Packers, Robert Tonyan posted 11 receiving touchdowns. This tied with Travis Kelce for most among tight ends and sat two above Darren Waller’s nine; the third-most touchdowns at the position. The most intriguing detail is, while Kelce and Waller were targeted at least 145 times each, Tonyan was targeted on only 59 pass attempts.

Tonyan’s 11 touchdowns with Getsy as Green Bay’s passing game coordinator gave the Packers a type of production from their tight end unit that the team hadn’t seen in over a decade.

Luke Getsy changes how Green Bay uses tight ends

Nathaniel Hackett was Green Bay’s offensive coordinator in both ’20 and ’21, working hand-and-and with Getsy, who served as the team’s passing game coordinator. In 2019, Hackett was still the Packers’ offensive coordinator, but Getsy hadn’t yet been promoted.

The impact Getsy had on Green Bay’s passing offense is clear as day.

While Tonyan tied for most touchdowns at his position league-wide with Getsy handling the passing game, Jimmy Graham’s three led the team at his position in 2019. Robert Tonyan was still a member of the Packers and saw action in 11 contests, but only notched one touchdown on 10 receptions.

Although Green Bay had a different offensive coordinator in 2018, the Raiders’ current senior offensive assistant, Joe Philbin, the team’s [lack of] tight end use remained the same. Graham’s two touchdowns was the most on the team at his position, and Robert Tonyan, who appeared in all 16 games, grabbed one touchdown on four receptions.

This trend continued throughout the entire last decade in Green Bay, with Richard Rodgers (2015) being the only Packers’ tight end to score more than three touchdowns (8) in a season aside from Tonyan paired with Getsy. The trend even continued after Getsy’s departure, with no NFL tight end in Wisconsin totaling more than two scores in both ’22 and ’23.

Luke Getsy loves using his tight ends to catch touchdowns. After a two-year stint as the Packers’ passing game coordinator, he served as the Bears’ offensive coordinator from ’22 to ’23, where he once again went to the tight end position for points.

Luke Getsy and the Chicago Bears

Like the Packers prior to Getsy’s ascension, Chicago wasn’t a team that called on their tight ends for touchdowns. In 2021, the year prior to Getsy’s arrival, the Bears’ tight end group found the end zone a combined four times, spearheaded by Jimmy Graham’s three scores. Not even Cole Kmet put up six once despite hauling in 60 catches—the second-most at any position for the Bears.

That all changed when Getsy came to town.

The very next year, Kmet alone posted seven receiving touchdowns. This tied for third-most at the position league-wide, even with his 50 catches tying for 15th-most among tight ends. Kmet hauled in 73 passes the following year, tying Dalton Kincaid for seventh-most among tight ends. More impressively, only one tight end in the NFL totaled more touchdowns than the Bears’ TE1 (6).

For those who aren’t keeping score, that marks three times in a four-year span where a tight end under Luke Getsy finished top-three league-wide in touchdowns.

And now, Getsy has Brock Bowers, Michael Mayer and Harrison Bryant at his disposal as the Raiders’ offensive coordinator.

How it all ties with the Las Vegas Raiders

Getsy is a master at designing throws to his tight ends for six. But when he doesn’t have a designed touchdown for one, he still likes having tight ends – plural – on the field.

In 2023, two or more tight ends took at least 30% of all offensive snaps for the Bears in 10 different weeks. Three tight ends took at least 30% of all offensive snaps in five separate weeks. Altogether, only seven teams ran multi-tight end sets more than Chicago last season.

These multi-tight end sets did more than score touchdowns. They helped Chicago total the second-most rushing yards (2,399) with the sixth-most yards per carry (4.5) in 2023, then the first-most rushing yards (3,014) and first-most yards per carry (5.4) in 2022.

And while Justin Fields’ 1,143 rushing yards in 2022 led the way for Chicago to have the most rushing yards two seasons ago, his 657 rushing yards last year made a team-effort mandatory to total the second-most rushing yards league-wide.

As a whole, it’s difficult to say this Raiders’ offense is the best offense Getsy has had to work with. He’s gotten lucky enough to work directly with Aaron Rodgers, who won two MVPs in two years with Getsy as his passing game coordinator, in Green Bay, alongside a more-youthful Davante Adams, who once snagged 18 touchdowns in 14 contests.

But either way, this is notably the best tight-end group Getsy has ever had at his disposal. And if Getsy’s love for tight ends was a secret before, it isn’t anymore.

With Bowers, Mayer and Bryant, there’s not much Getsy won’t be able to do with his tight ends.

*Top Photo: Getty Images

The post Raiders OC Luke Getsy And The Tight End Position: A Deep Dive appeared first on The Raider Ramble.

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