ALAMEDA — Second-year offensive lineman Tony Bergstrom finally has a home, at left guard, after spending most of his rookie season bouncing around from guard to offensive tackle, from the left side of the line to the right, sometimes all in one day.
Bergstrom was Oakland's top draft pick in 2012, selected late in the third round. With veterans entrenched at guard and tackle, Bergstrom worked at multiple positions in an attempt to become more versatile and thereby more valuable as a backup.
Now that veteran Cooper Carlisle is gone, Bergstrom is the leading candidate to start at left guard, though he is being pushed by fellow second-year player Lucas Nix.
Bergstrom said it's "nice" knowing where's he's going to line up each day. He also finds comfort in the playing time he received as a backup last season.
"I was going in last year just hoping not to screw up," Bergstrom said Tuesday. "This year, the idea is going in with a little more confidence, ready to play. That's kind of the next step after being able to play a little bit. So, it was a big opportunity last year."
Raiders coach Dennis Allen said the starting spot at left guard, as is the case with all positions, is open to competition. However, it's Bergstrom that is spending a majority of the time with the first-team offensive line right now.
"That's a big deal, a big motivating factor, coming in knowing there's a spot that's open and being competed for," Bergstrom said. "That's kind of the nice thing about it this year, with that goal in mind, as opposed to coming in and telling you 'Well, you might need to play a little tackle, so be ready for that.' It's 'know the guard and be ready for guard.' "