Second-year player David Ausberry showed up this year packing on more weight, feeling more like a tight end and ready to compete for the vacancy created by the release of veteran Kevin Boss earlier this offseason.
Offensive coordinator Greg Knapp admits that there’s work to be done before he and the other coaches can feel confident about what they have at the tight end position.
However, Knapp and others are confident that Ausberry, Brandon Myers and Richard Gordon are talented enough to step into heightened roles, with Ausberry the leading candidate to assume the starting role.
Here’s what Ausberry, a converted wide receiver, had to say during a recent interview following an offseason practice:
How you feeling out there?
Everything feels great. With the new offense, we’re making a lot of progress everyday.
Do you feel like you are now really a tight end?
It certainly feels like it, with all the weights were doing and the playbook, it makes you feel like a real tight end.
Did you feel like that last year, or was it a transition year?
I guess you could look at it both ways. I was doing a lot of the same things last year, but now its pretty much hand in dirt. Theres also a lot of formations where I am split out wide and all that, but now it’s more about being a real tight end. It feels pretty good.
How much weight have you put on?
265 right now. Last year, I was about 250. at the beginning of the year I was about 245 coming in.
You feel like you have lost any speed?
I don’t feel like I lost anything but that just comes with a lot of technique you got to know your opponent and be able to separate from people, and that’s what I am trying to do.
Was it easy putting weight on?
It wasn’t that hard if you’re lifting a lot. That’s pretty much what happened. Playing weight, I will probably be down to 258. I am trying to get more muscle in the upper body and trying to stay fit.
Carson Palmer has said nice things about you. Must feel nice to have the quarterback in your corner
It feels great. A vet like Carson, you always want a guy like that in your corner. It helps when you have some sort of relationship with the starting quarterback. You start to feel each other on the field and it helps a lot. I am just blessed to be in this position.
It seem wide open for you? As far as grabbing a starting job?
Yeah, thats what I am trying to do. If I get a chance to get out there, I will get it.
What things have you gotten better at since last year?
Recognizing defensive fronts. Coming from the outside back to the interior, you have to be aware of whats going on in front of you now.
Youre not reading too many safeties now.
Carson said seeing Terrell Owens push himself in offseason workouts (in LA) was good for the young guys. You agree, get a lot out of that?
Yeah, it is good. Somenbody like that, T.O. is a great player and to be in his presence and work out with him, it was great. He was passing on a lot of tips to us young guys