Darren Waller: I have to continue to approach the game with a sense of urgency

Over the last two years, Darren Waller has emerged as one of the league’s best tight ends.

The Raiders claimed Waller off waivers during the 2018 season and he became a full-time starter the following year. He’d led the club in receiving yards over the past two seasons, each eclipsing 1,100 yards.

Now after experiencing some success in the league, Waller is doing his best to stave off complacency entering 2021.

“It’s always a challenge, especially at this point,” Waller said. “Naturally as a human being, if you do things at a fairly high level for a good amount of time, you probably want to kick your feet back and kind of coast a little bit. But for now, for me, it’s just doing the opposite. It’s watching even more tape of anybody that I can get my eyes and hands on, look at any little thing that I can to improve my game, the smallest details.

“It’s really just diving in deeper than I ever have before and realizing that if I want to continue to have a successful career, the steps to doing that are infinite. And there’s never a chance for me to kind of just kick back and cruise on autopilot. I always have to make sure that the same work ethic I came in with [when the Raiders] first claimed me, I have to continue to approach the game with that sense of urgency.”

Waller and the rest of Las Vegas’ offense were solid in 2020, finishing eighth in total yards and 10th in scoring. But the club’s defense must improve with that same sense of urgency in order for the Raiders to become true contenders in the AFC.