Andre Holmes providing spark in passing game

The Oakland Raiders haven’t had a wide receiver break the 1,000-yard mark since Randy Moss did it in 2005.

Rod Streater came close to it last season, hauling in 888 reception yards. With Streater now on the injured reserve but designated to return, second-year Raider Andre Holmes has taken an advantage of increased playing time.

Holmes joined the Raiders last season, appearing in 10 games and hauling in 25 receptions for 431 yards and one touchdown.

Now the 6-foot-4, 210-pound wide receiver has put back-to-back strong games together for the Silver & Black after Streater left the game against Miami injured. He came in against Miami and grabbed five passes for 74 yards and one reception.

The fourth-year player had a great game last week against the Chargers with four receptions for 121 yards and two touchdowns, including at 77-yarder on the third play of the game.

“He did a great job of running the routes at the right depth and those things, catching the ball,” starting quarterback Derek Carr said of his receiver on Wednesday. “He’s really been extending plays, like the third play of the game, catching that ball and finishing the rest of it.”

Raiders head coach Tony Sparano likes the size Holmes possesses, and thinks he can become a solid big-framed receiver like Brandon Marshall.

“I like him to be that kind of guy that creates some of the big plays for us because he’s a big-bodied guy,” Sparano said after practice on Wednesday. “In my time in my previous life there, Brandon Marshall was a guy that was a big-bodied guy that would go up and front the ball up and kind of climb up the back of defensive backs and do those things and you like to have those kind of players.”

Sparano has already seen Holmes make some difficult receptions since he has been here.

“The catches that he’s made since he’s been here, which is really been since I’ve been here, have been those kind of catches, contested catches, down the field, ball is in the air and he’s jumping over somebody, he’s making the really hard catch,” Sparano said.

Holmes has had some trouble with drops, including one against the Chargers last week. His head coach believes it is just a matter of figuring out how to “track” the ball on shorter passes.

“I think sometimes in short areas for young players, when the ball gets on them fast, that takes a little bit more work sometimes in those situations, where a guy like James [Jones] in a small area, like the touchdown catch the other day, in a small area, small window, he knows how to use his body, he knows how to get his head around and his hands, so those things happen a little more natural for him,” Sparano said.

Though it may be a problem now, his head coach knows that he is putting in the extra time to correct it as best he can.

“He spends an awful lot of time out there on the jugs and doing those type of things, trying to catch those kind of balls,” Sparano said. “He spends a lot of time at it, works hard.”

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