Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Dec. 15, 2013
Though the Raiders are currently riding a four-game losing streak, one positive to come out of the Raiders locker room is the emergence of wide receiver Andre Holmes.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver has come in and taken advantage of his increased playing time after fellow wide receiver Denarius Moore went down with a shoulder injury before week 12. With Moore down, Holmes got his first-career start but hauled in just two receptions for 32 yards.
Holmes then had a breakout game against the Dallas Cowboys the next week, hauling in seven receptions for 136 yards against his former team. Holmes had just two receptions for 11 yards in his previous two years with the Cowboys, including some time on the Patriots practice squad this past off season before joining the Silver & Black.
The former Hillsdale product showed his great athletic ability in training camp but had to sit out and serve a four-game suspension for PEDs before he could join the Raiders in the regular season. Holmes wasn't activated until week six, and didn't haul in his first pass until week 11 against the Texans where he hauled in one reception for 33 yards.
The third-year wide receiver showed his athleticism once again on Sunday in the Raiders 56-31 loss, hauling in four receptions for 58 yards and one touchdown, his first career touchdown.
Holmes' first-career touchdown came on the Raiders first drive of the second half as they attempted to mount a comeback. Quarterback Matt McGloin rolled out right and threw it back over the middle as he found a wide-open Holmes for the six-yard touchdown, cutting the Chiefs' lead to 35-24.
McGloin and Holmes have found solid chemistry as all of Holmes' receptions this season have come in games in which McGloin has started.
"He’s a great guy to be around," McGloin said of Holmes. "He works his tail off. He shows up each and every day at practice. He’s eager to learn. He’s not a guy that’s going to say a lot. He’s going to go about his business day-in and day-out and do what he’s told. I see that throughout the course of the week so I want to give him opportunities to get the ball.”
McGloin's faith in the young wide receiver has grown as Holmes has shown the ability to attack the ball and go up and get it.
"He's a guy that will go and get the ball for you,'' McGloin said following the Cowboys game a couple of weeks ago. "He's a guy I look forward to try and get the ball to because he does good things when he gets the ball in his hands.''
Holmes displayed this ability exceptionally in the third quarter of Sunday's game when he went up for a ball on third and seven and came down with a beautiful one-handed catch over the defender. The phenomenal play extended the drive that ultimately culminated in another touchdown, briefly cutting the Chiefs lead to 35-31. (You can see the sequence of the play below).
It's plays like these that made the Raiders coaches excited about their new prospect in training camp. After being picked up off of waivers in May, Holmes could very well develop into the big-framed, athletic wide receiver that the Raiders have been missing if he can continue to learn and excel.