Does Ausberry have an 'in' at TE competition?


Does Ausberry have an 'in' at TE competition?

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."

Instant Analysis: Late TD burns Raiders in preseason loss to Rams


Instant Analysis: Late TD burns Raiders in preseason loss to Rams


OAKLAND – The Raiders sat nine offensive starters in last week’s exhibition opener. That front line assembled for the first time in game Saturday against the Rams and quickly found midseason form.

Quarterback Derek Carr was largely on point in a 21-17 victory to Los Angeles at Oakland Coliseum. Amari Cooper showed great hops. Michael Crabtree juked a cornerback out of his shoes and scored a touchdown. Jared Cook proved a difficult cover in the middle of the field. And Marshawn was predictably Marshawn, running like a battering ram on speed skates.

The defense, by contrast, needs some serious work.

Except for Khalil Mack. That’s dude’s all right. He had a sack, three quarterback pressures, four tackles, with two for a loss, in three series.

The rest of his unit was off kilter against L.A. Communication still needs work on the back end. Questions remain at inside linebacker and cornerback.

Coaches have three weeks to iron things out, and get that unit running right. Here are a few takeaways from Saturday’s exhibition.

Marshawn meets hometown crowd: Oakland native Marshawn Lynch played in his hometown for the first time in silver and black. He didn’t play much, removing his pads after just one series.

His cameo was quick and productive, with two carries for 10 yards. His trademark burst and balance was on display, as it was throughout camp. Lynch won’t need much work this preseason, but should get the lion’s share of carries when games count.

He looks as agile as ever, without the rust expected following a year away from football.

Smith suits up:Raiders cornerback Sean Smith played in sub packages with the starting unit, playing outside in the nickel. He had a relatively solid game despite mounting legal issues. He was charged with felony assault and battery on Thursday, when he turned himself in to Pasadena police and was released after posting an $80,000 bond.

Smith had two tackles and a nice pass defensed covering Sammy Watkins on a deep route.

Jenkins enters the fray: The Raiders are still searching for someone to pair with Cory James on the inside. Marquel Lee has worked with the first unit since training camp began in the base defense. He struggled some early, and gave way to veteran Jelani Jenkins in the second series.
That job remains open. Lee is a favorite, though Jenkins will challenge and prospect of signing someone off the street remains.

Backup quarterbacks still battling

EJ Manuel entered Saturday’s game with a clear lead on the backup quarterback position battle. The veteran received most every second-unit rep in camp, started last week’s game at Arizona and was first off the bench on Saturday.

He wasn’t great against the Rams, completing 3-of-9 passes for 16 yards.

That may have cracked the door for second-year pro Connor Cook. The Michigan State alum has struggled some in practice, but showed well working with the third unit on Saturday. He was with 7-of-10 passing for 70 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown strike to Johnny Holton.

Lynch sits, others kneel, raise fist during national anthem


Lynch sits, others kneel, raise fist during national anthem

OAKLAND -- Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch sat down during the national anthem prior to Saturday's preseason game versus the Los Angeles Rams, as he did the week before at Arizona. 

Lynch hasn't addressed his reason for sitting during the national anthem, an action several others have used to protest racial issues and the mistreatment of minorities in this country. He has sat intermitently during his career, while standing at attention and remaining in the locker room at others. 

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick popularized the movement last year by kneeling during the Star Spangled Banner. Lynch was retired in 2016, but voiced support for Kaepernick in an interview with Conan O'Briend. 

Lynch wasn't the only Raider making a gesture during the anthem. Rookie safety Shalom Luani kneeled during part of the song. Quarterback Derek Carr placed his hand on Khalil Mack's shoulder during the song. Bruce Irvin had his fist in the air. 

Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett has been vocal about his protest while sitting through the anthem twice in as many preseason games.