OTA’s are often a time of positivity, where coaches and players act like salesman and promoters, all hyping the talent of their team as well as their chances going into the season.
Raiders head coach Dennis Allen forgot that memo on Monday when he didn’t exactly have praise for his tight end group that includes three unproven talents in David Ausberry, Mychal Rivera and Nick Kasa. Only one of those players, Rivera, had a 2013 that could be considered a productive one and Allen didn’t seem to have much of a problem admitting he would have wished to see more depth at the position.
Allen even made a metaphor to Santa Claus when talking about the Raiders not bringing in a tight end this season, hinting that after addressing other pressing needs this offseason the position fell through the cracks.
“Yeah. First of all, I’ll address this. When you go into the offseason, you have some things that you want to address and some certain needs that you have on your team. You try to address those needs as best you can. I don’t know that you ever get everything that you want. It’s kind of like when you go and sit on Santa Claus’ lap. You ask for a bunch of stuff, and you get about half of it,” said Allen when asked about the tight end’s after Monday’s OTA’s.
Despite saying the team may not have addressed their needs, Allen said he feels good about the youthful mix of Ausberry/Rivera/Kasa who are all still easily considered as prospects for the Raiders.
“That’s kind of where we’re at. I feel good about having some young guys at the tight end position and we’re going to need those guys to step up. Somebody in that room has to step up and say that they’re the guy. I think we’ll all know when that time comes.”
Those comments were made on Monday, making it unsurprising when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the team may kick the tires on Jermichael Finley after the veteran tight end was medically cleared by a Pittsburgh doctor to return to football activities last week.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 4, 2014
It appears that Finley is the likely logical compromise for the Raiders who seem to be interested in bringing in a tight end but opted to pass on trying to lure Owen Daniels to Oakland to reunite with Matt Schaub, but a cold tight end market in free agency made the lack of additions at the position more than understandable.
Enter Finley, whose former production and likely low price tag could make up for his serious injury red flag for general manager Reggie McKenzie as well as Allen as the team looks for a veteran to add into their blend of young players at the position. With over 600 yards receiving at tight end three times in his career, there is little doubt that Finley would be the experienced target that the team would want for their new quarterback in Schaub to satisfy his love of using his tight end’s in the aerial attack.
There is the question of Finley being able to be medically cleared to play which clouds any premature excitement over the prospect of bringing Finley in to bolster the Raiders depth at tight end, but should he continue to pass the medical hurdles to get back to his football playing life there seems to be little doubt that Oakland will be one of his potential suitors. Desperate for tight end help and a mentor for their promising young tight ends, especially the surprising rookie Rivera, the Raiders may just be the perfect fit for Finley to make his comeback to the NFL with.