Organized Team Activities, aka OTA's, are the first time of the new season that mostly all of the players participate in practice with each other. It's not just the rookies or the players trying to make the team practicing anymore, now the veterans will enter the fray too. Monday, May 20th of 2013 is the date it all begins, better known currently as tomorrow.
There are a number of position battles that we have hypothesized about who will be starting but we really don't know completely certainly just yet who is ahead in their competitions. Who will line up with the first team when they go out there for the first time tells us who the Raiders feel is the leader to win the position currently so it makes it very interesting to hear the details from the first OTA's.
Starting in the beginning of OTA's doesn't guarantee that a player will be starting Week 1 of the regular season but its not a bad indicator of who the Raiders believe will be starting. There is plenty of time for roster jostling to happen over the next few months though so if a player wants to get noticed this is their time to shine.
One player who stole the show in last year's OTA sessions was wide receiver Juron Criner who was making one great catch after another. Criner didn't show up in the season like he did in OTA's last year but he certainly showed he has a lot of potential. I am sure he remembers how he performed too and is going to be eager to show it all over again this year, hopefully including some of that magic following him throughout the regular season too.
Another player to watch who had a disappointing 2012 campaign is tight end David Ausberry. The Raiders moved on from starter Brandon Myers in the off-season leaving the position wide open for a starter to emerge. Ausberry has competition for the position and hasn't lived up to what the Raiders wanted from him so it is important that he puts on a display of everything he has learned over the last 2 years. If he wants to be the starter he needs to show he is a veteran now and ready to perform, which happens more often than you think in a player's 3rd season.
It isn't just the position battles that make OTA's so interesting though, it's also the first step in developing good chemistry with each other on the field. There are a ton of new players on this year's squad and although they have gotten together as a team socially already they haven't gotten to see how their games will fit with each other on the field yet. Their introductions to each others playing styles begins tomorrow.
This team is not getting respect from a lot of media outlets and it would be pretty hard for these players to not have heard the evaluations. One way for them to start earning some positive attention is to come out strong and show that they are not the mess that many seem to think they are. The chips on their shoulder from this off-season so far must be tremendous and they finally are going to get a chance to unload some of it.
Luckily for all of us here at Silver and Black Pride we have our very own insider traveling to Alameda County and the Raiders headquarters where they have their practice fields. He will be there from the moment the fun begins so follow Levi Damien on his Twitter account for his tweets updating you on the progress throughout the day tomorrow. The activities are scheduled for the 20th, 21st and 23rd but only tomorrow is open to the Media.
The long time readers of this site know they are in very capable hands with Levi in getting the details needed for their Raiders addiction, and the new readers will find out very soon for themselves! Tomorrow promises to be a fun day for news in Raider Nation, the first day of OTA's always is.