Returning from an IR stint in 2013, David Ausberry was one of three players available for media availability during post practice press conferences at the Oakland Raiders 2014 OTA’s. Expected to be one of the Raiders most relied upon tight ends this season, Ausberry took the time to answer questions on his process in returning from injury and how far along he is to becoming 100% for a comeback season.
Here is the transcript of Ausberry’s presser courtesy of the Raiders official website:
Q: How hard was it on you last year and having to watch a season where you thought that you were going to get the starting job?
“It was really tough. Coming out and having a strong training camp from the beginning, it was tough to go down and watch everybody, but it’s part of the game. You have to take it for what it is.”
Q: Were you in a situation where you were healed a decent part of the way into the season but the way that the team had to do in at the end of training camp, they had to put you on the reserve/injured list? Did you have to watch a lot of that season healthy?
“No, I was pretty beat up at that point.”
Q: At what point did you get full healed this offseason?
“Maybe around late December. It was a pretty nasty injury. I had the surgery, went through rehab and healed right at the end of the season.”
Q: Was there a setback at some point?
“No, there wasn’t really any setbacks. It was just an injury that was pretty nasty and there was nothing we could really do about it.”
Q: What exactly happened to your shoulder? Did it separate?
“A chipped bone, torn ligaments. It was pretty nasty.”
Q: While you were gone, the Raiders loaded up on the tight end position. How do see the tight end position now?
“I try not to worry about things like that too much. I just try to be confident, do my job, do what I’m asked to do and do it effectively.”
Q: What are your impressions of Matt Schaub?
“Matt Schaub is a tremendous player. He came from Houston. He is tight end friendly, so that’s pretty good for us. We like Matt. He’s a good leader, great football player and is good for this team.”
Q: His numbers in Houston were big, but when you look at the amount of passes that the tight ends caught, there were usually two guys with big numbers there. Is that something that you take notice of?
“Of course. I watched film on him before he came. He likes the tight ends. He likes to use the middle of the field, so we’ll be there for him.”
Q: With all the competition at your position, it’s a great deal to be a starter, but it could be a real big deal that you have a quarterback that will allow you to thrive.
“Right, there is competition all over the field. We have a good room I feel and I am just going to try to do my job day in and day out, try to help each other and do what we can do.”
Q: There was a long time between playing and practicing this season. Did it feel like you were able to kind of hop back in there, or did it take you awhile in these OTAs to get back in the flow?
“You’re right it was a long time. I didn’t get to do anything but watch film, so that’s kind of how I gained experience a little bit. I was a little rusty. I can admit that. It was good to get back in there and get in with the guys. That was probably the most fun thing.”
Q: Are you doing a full practice?
“Right, I am doing a full practice.”
Q: Do you view it as a vote of confidence in the tight ends because Reggie McKenzie didn’t sign a tight end this offseason?
“Maybe so. It’s one of those things I try not to think about too much. My job is to get on the field and be productive and do what I can do to help this team. I didn’t think about it too much.”
Q: Have you ever been through a longer injury stretch and what was that experience like?
“Never. It was pretty tough never having an injury like that before. It was my first surgery. I just tried to be confident in myself and in my preparation and get back on the field and try to pick up where I left off.”
Q: Last year before you got hurt, did you feel you had won the job? Were you thinking you were the No. 1 guy last year?
“I wasn’t really thinking about that. I was just trying to get in and do what I was asked to do and do it effectively. Like I said, I didn’t really put myself in any place on the depth chart.”
Q: What are your observations of the way the team has changed around you over the last few seasons?
“I believe it was a good change. We have some Super Bowl winners in here and it brings a lot of confidence to the team, brings a lot of leadership. Leadership develops more leadership. That’s how I would think about it. I am just trying to spread knowledge and do what we can do to bring a championship here.”
Q: How much weight in muscle have you put on since your first day here?
“I came in around 245, 247 [pounds]. Now, I am about 258, 260.”
Q: We’ve talked over the years about your blocking and that’s the thing the coaches have wanted you to work on. How is that coming and is it at a point where it’s good enough to be a starter?
“It’s one of those things where you can’t really tell right now. We are not really in real football yet with no pads on. It’s about technique, it’s about being confident, it’s about knowing your assignment. That’s one of those things that I am working on right now.”
Q: Is that the next big test for you to take a real big hit on that shoulder and to let yourself know that you are good, or do you know that you’re good now?
“I feel pretty good. Like I said, we’re not in pads right now, so it’s kind of hard to tell, but I feel pretty good.”
Q: How did you get hurt?
“I took a nasty fall. I was inverted, fell on my elbow and it kind of went to my shoulder a little bit. It was pretty ugly, but I was able to bounce back.”
Q: Was it the left one?