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Saturday, June 03, 2006

Oakland Raiders Special Teams Analysis

We've worked our way through the loaded offense and youthful defense, now the special teams need a little attention. We'll take a look at some key players and positions in our special teams lineup.

Let's start out with the easiest one, our punter. Shane Lechler is entering his 7th NFL season and has an absolutely amazing punting average. In fact, it's the best punting average in NFL History. His career average is 45.9 yds. Out of his 442 career punts, he has kicked 170 of them inside the 20 and only 70 for touchbacks. His career long is 70 yards. If he can keep this level of performace, he will be a Hall of Famen punter.

Our kicker, Janikowski, has one of the strongest legs in the NFL. His career kicking average is 78.4%, which really isn't as high as we'd like. Last season, he made a career low 66.7% of his kicks. Seabass will need to improve so the Raiders can count on him in critical situations. Art Shell should help him. Shell has made the team run when Jano misses his kicks. He needs to show improvement this year or he may not get another chance in Oakland.

Last season, our kick and punt returner was an undrafted rookie named Chris Carr. Carr had some nice returns and several that were almost great. Carr has a lot of special teams potential but he needs to improve fast, Rod "He Hate Me" Smart was a Free Agent acquisition this offseason. If Smart is unable to beat Carr out, he will most likely be a camp cut. On kickoff returns, Carr had a 24 yard average and returned 2 for over 40 yards but was unable to find the end zone. On punt returns, Carr had a 5.5 yard average and returned 3 for over 20 yards but once again was unable to find the end zone. WR Carlos Francis may have an oppertunity to return kickoffs as well. In 2004, he had an unimpressive average of 18.5 yards but with his speed he could have an oppertunity again.

Some other special team performers to watch for are Jarrod Cooper, Stanford Routt, and rookie Darnell Bing. Bing could be an outstanding special teamer with his speed and size. Bing played safety for USC but is being converted to a Linebacker in the NFL. He won't play defense this season unless some key players are injured but will most likely make the team to play on special teams.

Overall our special teams looks to be a pretty sound unit. I expect both kickers to have good seasons and although we don't have an X-factor returning kicks and punts, we should get decent field position.


Blogger frkyraider said...

with the rookie jitters gone carr should be much more settled and consistant in his sophmore season. we know what we have in our two legs, jano should rebound with an average to good year. we have a few people to compete for the #2 return man. no worries there. so really the only thing we have to worry about is coverage. coverage coverage coverage!!! it's been or nemesis for serveral years. i beleive we have added some much needed speed and youth with tackling skills to this position. at the very least we added two of them, howard and bing ought to be layin' a little hat this season. not sure we would, but what if we let huff run out there on coverage units? my goodness, i'm jacked for ST this year!!!

6/04/2006 3:46 PM  

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