TE Richard Gordon makes a catch during individual drills. Photo by Tony Gonzales
Oakland Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen has been impressed with how the young group of tight ends has come along over the last couple of months. "The one thing I'd say about the tight ends is, what was perceived to be an area of weakness coming in, I've seen some significant improvement and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do in training camp," said Coach Allen.
TE Richard Gordon, in his second year out of the University of Miami, and TE David Ausberry, a second-year out of USC, had catches that caught the eye during the second-to-last practice of the off-season. "They keep coming to work every day and they keep trying to get a little bit better every day," said Coach Allen on the tight ends. "As long as they do that, they'll be fine."
Ausberry feels good about how he fits into the new offense under offensive coordinator Greg Knapp. "Greg Knapp does a great job of rotating a lot of tight ends and using a lot of tight ends in the play-action game or run game and things like that," said Ausberry. "So I think it's pretty good we are able to get in the mix and be mismatches on the field. It's going pretty well."
Gordon feels like the coaching staff is working to each tight end's individual strengths and allowing them to excel. "Right now, it's a competition," said Gordon. "Everybody is doing something different. Mostly I do the blocking, Ausberry does most of the catching and Brandon [Myers] doing both. It's more everybody trying to get a feel for what they're going to be doing this season."
Coach Allen saw good things out of Gordon during team drills. "I tell ya, he's athletic, for as big as he is, he's really athletic," said Coach Allen. "He runs really good. He's learning to play the tight end position. He's a work in progress, but I think he's done a nice job so far."
As the Raiders head into training camp at the end of July, Coach Allen sees the tight ends position playing out like all the rest of the positions, an open competition between Myers, Gordon, Ausberry, rookie Kyle Efaw and recent acquisition Tory Humphrey. "I don't really see it a whole lot different than a lot of other positions," said Coach Allen. "We've got competition at every single position right now, which is healthy. It's good. It gets all of us better. I don't think there is a clear-cut favorite at that position for sure and those guys are doing the right thing. They keep coming to work every day and they keep trying to get a little bit better every day. As long as they do that, they'll be fine."