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News

What's Trending with the Raiders This Week

Posted Jun 6, 2014

Another week of the offseason is in the books and John Lund is here to let us know what is trending with the Raiders this week.

WEEK TWO OTAs UPDATE

Since you never have to ask me about quarterbacks, Matt Schaub is clearly in control of the offense, as you would expect from a veteran and if Derek Carr doesn’t make it, it won’t be due to a lack of arm strength, he has that.

In Schaub’s last season starting the full 16 games in 2012 for Houston, tight ends on the Texans had 122 receptions and 12 touchdowns. Raiders tight ends caught 45 balls good for five touchdowns in 2013. Mychal Rivera had 38 of those grabs and four scores. David Ausberry missed all of the 2013 season after being injured in a preseason game and he’s back with no restrictions at OTAs. The former USC wide receiver, said this week he is looking forward to forging a relationship with the tight end friendly Schaub.

“He likes the tight ends. He likes to use the middle of the field, so we’ll be there for him”, Ausberry said.

With the drafting of linebacker Khalil Mack in the first round, second-year linebacker Sio Moore, who was solid as a rookie, will likely move from the strong side to the weak side. It’s a position he has played before. He told me he was moved all around in college at UConn and he’ll do whatever it takes to help the team. Moore and Mack have similar “I live for football” attitudes that bodes well for the future of the Raiders defense.

I get a lot of “how does this guy look, how does that guy look” e-mails in OTAs. To be fair, you can't tell much from guys running around in shorts. OTAs are a time to get work in and for the coaches to make sure players are healthy and in shape, but mainly to install the basics of the offense and defense so the team isn’t starting from ground zero once training camp begins in late July. The key is to remain injury free. The Raiders currently have no injuries which will affect player availability for training camp. DJ Hayden and Latavius Murray were dealing with sprained ankles this week, but are expected to be ready to go for training camp.

CHARLES WOODSON IS HAPPY TO BE BACK

Charles Woodson broke the news on my radio show last December. If the Silver and Black wanted him back, he would only play in Oakland to finish out his Hall of Fame career.

“I think this is the only place I would play,” Woodson said at the end of the 2013 season.  “If I’m wanted here, I'm coming back.”

Charles Woodson breaks the news, he’s coming back in 2014:

He was and is wanted back and Woodson said this week at OTAs that unlike last season when he had many suitors for his services, he only considered the Raiders this time around.

“I didn’t talk to anybody. My heart was set on coming back here, and if that didn’t happen I would have had to weigh those options, whether or not something could turn up, but my heart was set on coming here so if it wasn’t here, I don’t know.”

While the 2013 Raiders were a younger bunch where he had to mentor and teach many of the young defenders, Woodson is excited this season for an influx of veteran talent and he knows, like him, they want to prove there is still ample gas left in the tank.

“I know those guys feel like they have much more value than what their previous teams thought they had. There’s no doubt that those guys have some extra incentive to come in and show that they’re still great players in this league.”

While Woodson will see more veterans in his secondary with the addition of former 49ers Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers in addition to the return of strong safety Tyvon Branch, he will still mentor young players on the back end. He did admit to me that when he was a rookie back in 1998 and early in his career that thought wouldn’t have crossed his mind, but now he enjoys the role of teacher.

In addition to 2013 first rounder corner DJ Hayden, the Raiders drafted three defensive backs in 2014. Keith McGill of Utah, TJ Carrie from Ohio and Jonathan Dowling from Western Kentucky. McGill and Carrie are bigger corners, which are in vogue in the league and I’m told Dowling was a target of many teams when the Raiders selected him in the 7th round. 

ONE FOR THE ROAD:

Raiders first round pick Khalil Mack was born February 22, 1991. He was seven years old when Charles Woodson made his Raiders debut September 6, 1998 in Kansas City versus the Chiefs. Woodson is entering his 18th NFL season.