Originally published on SBReport.net on Aug. 1, 2013
The Oakland Raiders returned to their Napa, Calif. practice field without pads for their first practice after having the day off on Wednesday.
Many of the players injured during the last week have yet to return to the field, with the exception of defensive tackle Vance Walker who was back on Thursday. Joining the injury list was defensive back Brandian Ross and defensive end Lamarr Houston. Head coach Dennis Allen says these injuries occur but stressed the importance to get his team healthy and back practicing.
“It’s part of training camp,” Allen said of the injuries. “But anytime you have injuries there’s a concern because this is the time that you develop your football team. So, we need these guys out here and we need them to get rehabbed and get out here as soon as possible.”
Tight end David Ausberry continues to have a nice camp and has been able to create separation on a variety of defenders. The third-year tight end used a nice double move on veteran safety Charles Woodson to get separation and haul in a deep pass that was placed nicely by Terrelle Pryor.
Another tight end that impressed today was rookie tight end Mychal Rivera. Rivera used a nice move on a deep post route that shook safety Usama Young and left him wide open for the deep reception. When drafting him, Allen knew Rivera could catch but the second-year coach has been pleased with what he has seen in the blocking game thus far.
“Rivera’s one guy as a rookie that’s come in and done a nice job,” Allen said. “He’s got a great feel for the passing game. One of the question marks of him coming in is ‘how well is he going to do as a blocker?’ and he’s really responded and done a nice job as far as that’s concerned.”
After losing Brandon Myers in the offseason, Allen is looking for a new starting tight and knows the team is better off when a player can haul in passes and block at the position.
“The more versatile they can be, the better off we’re going to be,” Allen said. “The tight end position is one of those which you’re part offensive lineman and you’re part wide receiver. So, they’re ability to be versatile for us when we need to run the ball and when we need them in pass protection they’ve got to be able to step up and do their job. And when we get a chance to throw the ball down the field to them, they’ve got to go make plays for us.”
Just a day after Allen stated that the team didn’t have any clear-cut number one receiver, Denarius Moore had a great practice, catching everything thrown his way. Moore made a great play leaping up and attacking the ball at the highest point to haul in a ball by Matt Flynn over Woodson and cornerback Tracy Porter. Allen had previously said that this is one thing he would like to see from Moore.
“I thought Denarius Moore made a great play down at the boundary,” Allen said of the play. “Those are the types fo plays that we expect out of him. I think he’s responding to the challenge.”
The Raiders would like to see Moore return to the play he provided at the beginning of last season before having a rough second half.
Though it is early in camp and his team hasn’t hit the field for even an exhibition game, Allen likes the way his team is developing.
“I said it before: I like this team,” Allen said. “I like their mindset. I like their mentality – they way they go about their business. We’re going to be a tough, physical football team and we’re going to be a mentally-tough team. That’s the challenge I’ve put forth to this team and they’ve responded.”
A couple things of note: