Andre Holmes becoming big-play threat for Raiders

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ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Andre Holmes is settling into his role as Oakland's big-play wide receiver.

With two long catches last week, including a 77-yard score on the first possession of the game, the former undrafted player from tiny Hillsdale College in Michigan has become a crucial part of the Raiders' offense.

After showing flashes at times in his first season in Oakland in 2013, the key for Holmes now is to show the consistency that has been lacking at times over his two seasons with the Raiders.

''You just have to build off of it,'' Holmes said Thursday. ''That's where my mindset is at. It's one good game this season. I just have to go against the Cardinals and get another good one.''

After a strong finish to last season when he had 22 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown in the final five games, Holmes was being counted on as a key contributor on Oakland's offense this season.

But he was up-and-down during training camp and the preseason and got passed up for a starting spot because he sometimes has a harder time making the easy catches than the highlight-reel ones.

''`That's something that I know Andre is working on right now,'' interim coach Tony Sparano said. ''He spends an awful lot of time out there on the jugs and doing those types of things, trying to catch those kind of balls. He spends a lot of time at it, works hard.''

Holmes played only two offensive snaps in the season opener against the New York Jets and was on the field only about half the time the following two weeks. But after Rod Streater was sidelined by a broken foot, Holmes moved back into the starting lineup against Miami last month and has made the most of his opportunity.

Holmes had five catches for 74 yards and a touchdown in the loss to the Dolphins and followed that up with an even bigger performance against San Diego.

He got behind the defense on the third play from scrimmage to score on a 77-yard catch that was the longest scoring throw for Oakland in five years.

He added a 30-yard catch with a leaping grab near the sideline to set up a score in the second quarter and gave Oakland the lead in the fourth with his 6-yard TD catch. Holmes finished with four catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns - becoming just the third Oakland player to top 100 yards receiving with two TD catches in a game in the past nine seasons.

''I definitely trust him, no doubt,'' quarterback Derek Carr said. ''I like the size of our receivers also, the ones that play outside. I love giving them chances to go get balls. When they do, it puts it in the back of my head like, `He caught the last one, let's go at it again.' So I definitely like giving those guys chances, especially when I know that they'll come down with it.''

With his 6-foot-4 frame, good jumping ability and 4.45 speed in the 40-yard dash, Holmes has had a knack for big plays in his short time with Oakland. Of his 40 catches, 14 have gone for at least 20 yards - the most on the Raiders the past two seasons.

Sparano compares Holmes' attributes to Brandon Marshall, a player he coached in Miami.

''You like to have those kind of players,'' Sparano said. ''The catches that he's made since he's been here have been those kinds 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. So, that's been good to see and it's a comfort for the quarterback when he feels like he can throw it that way and that guy is going to come down with it.''

NOTES: DE Justin Tuck (knee), FB Marcel Reece (quad), RT Khalif Barnes (quad) and WR Vincent Brown (hamstring) did not practice for the second straight day. ... CB DJ Hayden was back out for his second practice since being sidelined in May with a stress fracture in his right foot.



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