Does Ausberry have an 'in' at TE competition?

August 3, 2012, 3:04 pm
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NAPA -- With his football, ahem, heritage you'd think David Ausberry would have a certain in with two of the Raiders' quarterbacks as he competes for first-team snaps at tight end.Even if Ausberry was not roaming the corridors of USC's Heritage Hall at the same time as Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart."That's how it goes, man, we're Trojans and we try to take care of each other a little bit," Ausberry said with a laugh. "Nah, just playing."It's good to catch the ball from anybody. When you get chance to make a play, you've got to make it. That's what I try to bring to the table."Catching the ball was never really in question, what with Ausberry a wide receiver by trade. But his ongoing conversion to tight end brought his blocking skills into focus as he competes with Brandon Myers and Richard Gordon."I think it's going great," Ausberry said of his move to tight end. "I got a chance to go through a real offseason so it's a lot less thinking. I've got a good hold of the playbook now and I can play a lot faster. So I think having a real offseason helped."This is football; anything can happen at any time. I think the tight end group, we're just trying to stay focused because we're in, pretty much, in every play and all the special teams. So we all know that we have something to bring to the table. We know the competition's there but it's kind of in the back of our minds. We know we've got to play but it's such a small group we've got to have each other's back. It's only four or five of us right now so we've got to keep the intensity up and just go at it every day."Besides Myers, Ausberry and Gordon, who strained a hip flexor Tuesday and did not
practice Wednesday, the Raiders also have undrafted rookie Kyle Efaw from Boise State and veteran Tory Humphrey, who has played in New Orleans and Green Bay, on the training camp roster at tight end.Through three training camp practices, Myers was running with the one's and Ausberry with the two's."If you're a playmaker, you're a playmaker and that's what I try to bring," Ausberry said. "Whether it's blocking, I'll do it. Whether it's catching, I'll do it. If the ball's in the air, you've got to go get it. And that's how I try to approach it."