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Darren Waller displaying a wolfpack mentality in the Raiders' locker room

Darren Waller is looking forward to "running wild" in Josh McDaniels' new offense.

The star tight end gave a little insight Tuesday into what exactly "running wild" entails. It's similar to what he's already been doing since earning the starting tight end job in 2019.

"Up some seams, over routes, catching short passes and just blowing through people, catching fade balls on the outside," Waller said of what's expected from him this season. "Lining up everywhere doing everything really."

Waller's description lines up with how McDaniels used All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski in New England. The success Gronk had under McDaniels resulted in 52 receiving touchdowns across seven seasons in which McDaniels was his offensive coordinator.

"I'm excited. It's asking me to do a lot of things," Waller said of learning the new scheme. "We watch a lot of tape of Rob Gronkowski 'running wild' from old New England clips. So it's exciting to see different ways that I'll be used.

"It's a challenging system, but I love a good challenge. I think it will bring the best out of us."

With it just being the first day of mandatory minicamp, Waller has ample amount of time to thrust himself into the Gronkowski role. Nevertheless, he's already done enough this offseason to please his new head coach – who noted he's wanted to coach No. 83 for awhile.

"He's done everything we've asked him to do and more," McDaniels said Tuesday afternoon. "He's obviously a good player. We love having him here. It's really a pleasure to coach the guy. He comes with a great attitude and mindset every day. Works really hard. [He's] here early, stays late, does extra, takes care of his body, does a lot of the things that you would want any player to do."

Waller, who was named a team captain last year, also wants to continue to develop as a leader on this team. The tight end is one of longest tenured players on the Raiders, along with quarterback Derek Carr. He understands it's imperative for him to be a consistent force of the locker room, and do so in his own fashion.

"There was a story that I was told about wolves. And it's about how wolves can lead from the back, you don't always have to be in the front," said Waller. "I'm a little more reserved so I can see somebody that's struggling with something in the offense or may have had a bad play and they may hang their head. But I try to give them an encouraging word or be the first one to give them a high five when they make a good play. Just little things like that to keep them even keel.

"There's a lot of pressure on us. There's a lot of things that could make us high or make us low, but just trying to stay in the middle."

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Get an inside look at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center during the Silver and Black's first day of minicamp.

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