With a flashy new website that looks like it is about to become a trendsetter in how the NFL is covered online in this decade, Peter King kept the MMQB tour rolling through the West as the SI NFL writer continued his tour of the 2013 Training Camps around the league.
While in Oakland, King was particularly impressed with Raiders starting TE hopeful David Ausberry, complimenting the former USC Trojan’s early play during practices in Napa, including a nifty catch and run for a touchdown.
3. Most impressive unknown player I saw: Oakland tight end David Ausberry, who had the best single move—a nifty catch, juke and run—in the first week of my tour.
King also commented on a variety of Raiders topics in his “Ten Things I Learned Out West” column…
2. The riskiest draft pick in the first round isn’t hitting anyone yet. Oakland cornerback D.J. Hayden, who nearly died from a heart injury on the practice field at the University of Houston last November, has a red shirt on at practice, as so many quarterbacks wear this time of year. That signifies a player who shouldn’t be hit. I watched Saturday’s practice in Napa, Calif., and Hayden, who has not had a collision since the day he was hurt, ran and covered well—except on a play on which he clearly interfered with a receiver in deep coverage. There’s no plan for precisely when Hayden will put on pads, in part because his recovery was hampered in the spring when he kept vomiting on the practice field. Turns out scar tissue from the surgery was wrapped around part of his bowel, so he needed bowel-obstruction surgery. When we spoke on Saturday, he seemed tired of talking about the story. “I just want to play football,” he said. “I really think after the first collision, I’ll be fine. I really don’t think it’ll be an issue.”
9. Most beloved player on the trip: Oakland safety Charles Woodson. Raiders fans are smitten with their guys anyway. Woodson, who spent his first eight seasons in Oakland before leaving for Green Bay in 2006, is being feted as though Howie Long or Lester Hayes returned.
With the Raiders getting largely ignored by ESPN and the NFL Network, it is nice to see that the Monday Morning Quarterback still thinks the Raiders are worth a good mention when talking about the NFL’s West Coast teams.