Part of the Bay Area News Group

Time for Seabass to compete

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Monday, May 19th, 2008 at 11:55 am in Oakland Raiders.

Lane Kiffin talked earnestly last year of having no free rides, a new Raiders order in which reputations meant nothing and performance was everything. He even said players “aren’t on scholarship,” a reference which had been used for years regarding certain players who were deemed Al Davis favorites (Dan Land, James Jett and Alvis Whitted come to mind).

Kiffin found his poster boy in Justin Fargas, who ascended past LaMont Jordan and Dominic Rhodes to gain 1,009 yards, an unremarkable total until you consider he wasn’t a starter until Week 7 and missed the last two games due to injury.

When street free agent Chris Clemons and fifth-round draft pick Jay Richardson fared well in training camp, better than third-round pick Quentin Moses, the Raiders did the unthinkable. They made Moses the highest drafted player not to make the roster of the team that drafted him.

When Darren McFadden became available in the draft, the Raiders unflinchingly threw him into the mix at running back along with Fargas and Michael Bush. Why? Competition. Compete every day, every play.

“It’s a pretty good stable, I mean if you want to talk to one to eight, one to nine, it’s open competition, so our philosophy is, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past. I don’t care if you were the fourth-round pick, one of the top guys of the SEC that have ever come out as a runner, I don’t care if you’re Justin Fargas and ran for 1,009 yards, I mean, we have a standard here of the play that we want to present as a group of running backs, and we’re going to hold everybody that suits up and steps out on that field to those standards,” running backs coach Tom Rathman said. “When you’re not able to get it done to those standards, we’re going to go to the next guy. Somebody’s going to perform for us, and it’s going to be at a high level, and that’s our expectations.”

Funny how you never notice special teams coach Brian Schneider saying the same thing about his place kicker.

Sebastian Janikowski has been handled with kid gloves since the day he was drafted in 2000, the same as punter Shane Lechler, who arrived in the same year.

They remain the pride and joy of Al Davis, the one man who would pull the trigger on Ray Guy, Janikowski and Lechler, all unique and gifted talents coming out of college.

The problem is Janikowski, the controversial first-round pick in 2000, has never measured up the way Guy did and Lechler has. Yet each year he is treated as an untouchable.

Before they get to training camp, and perhaps the mandatory minicamp on June 3, the Raiders should bring in a place kicker who does more than caddy for Jano. Someone who can compete with him in practice and preseason games and be given a legitimate opportunity to do as Clemons, Richardson and Fargas did _ win a job.

Granted, there isn’t a lot out there. Morten Andersen is too old, and most kickers have found spots. The Rams will be parting with former UCLA and Mission San Jose kicker Justin Medlock at some point, having drafted correction, signed Josh Brown.

Medlock would be an interesting call because he idolized Janikowski as a high school kicker. He washed out with the Chiefs, but that’s not unusual in the kicking business.

It doesn’t have to be Medlock, anyway. Just somebody who comes in and is told he has a chance to win the job based on performance. Janikowski may very well win the job anyway, but at least he would be pushed.

Last season, the Raiders didn’t even bring in a place kicker until Aug. 6, when Tyler Fredrickson arrived to allow some more down time for both Janikowski and Lechler.

If you’ve watched much football practice, you realize kickers don’t really work all that hard anyway. If they stood around much longer, they’d be as inactive as the reporters.

Yet Jano kicked sparingly in the preseason. Fredrickson, who openly acknowledged he had no shot, was doing all the kicking by the preseason finale to keep Seabass from spoiling in the sun.

In a Week 1 loss to Detroit, Janikowski lined up for three field goal attempts and made none of them. A 50-yarder was blocked and 46- and 57-yarders were wide left. It’s probably unfair to criticize any kicker for missing from 57 yards, but attempts like that are precisely why he was drafted in the first round. To be a game changer, you’ve got to change the game.

He is a 62.2 percent kicker from 40 yards and beyond (71-for-114) and is less than 50 percent from 50 and beyond (16-for-34). Again, a 50-plus kick is no gimme, but we’re not talking about “normal” kickers here.

Over the last three years, Janikowski has been at or near the bottom of the NFL in field goal percentage (71.9 percent in 2007, 72 percent in 2006, 66.7 percent in 2005). Those seasons followed his two best years (89.3 percent in 2004, 88 percent in 2003).

And while Janikowski had 22 touchbacks last year, tying a career high, his consistency in that area is maddening as well and the Raiders have not been a strong coverage team despite his powerful leg.

This isn’t to say Janikowski should be vilified or run out of town. He has stayed out of trouble and kept a low profile for a few years now after getting into trouble at Florida State and in his early years as a Raider, problems tied to drinking.

But it’s hypocritical for the Raiders to concede him the job and then carry on about open competition.

OTA

The Raiders begin another three-day organized team activity Tuesday, with media access scheduled for Thursday.

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  • http://ibabuzz.com antispy3

    Let’s try this again:

    Y’all know OJ was, like many Trojan footballers, a sprinter on the USC track team.

    he usually won team ruoffs by a head(but not necessairly shoulders) above the competition.

    He was the original “slash” (apologies to Kordell Stewart).

    Be here all night with shows @ 7:00 & 11:00. Please tip your server & try the veal (cutlets).

    Thanks for coming down. Lots of parting (Ginsu Knives?!) gifts remain! !

    (tough crowd. Can’t cut through the atmosphere with less than a machete).

    How quickly things deteriorate on a relative slow news day (Jevon Walker fitness speculation, Dem. Primaries in OR & KY, hamburger all over the highway in Sichuan Province, Dave Vs. Dave on “Idol” & appeals court sorting over the implications paper money “discrimminates” against the blind. Film @ eleven. Sorry. A bit insensitive there).

    These are the headlines (not an intentional “OJ” reference). Now for the rumors behind the stories.

    late

    antispy3

  • Dakota

    MRS,

    Chris Carr’s ability to return kicks or play defense is totally irrelevant as to whether or not he is right about strange things going on in Oakland. The players that leave here know it, and some of them open their mouths…I’ll take their word about the situation over yours because they actually have experienced it. You on the other hand don’t know poo about the inner working of the organization, lol.

    Later.

    Don’t bother responding, I will not stoop to your level (Art Shell’s Hat).

  • 909raiderlifer

    Antipsy3… When are you going to be at, the Improv, (Ontario or Brea) or the Ice House, (Pasadena).

    Your killing me.

  • Florida Pete

    i don’t think there is a disgruntled ex-employee on this entire planet who doesn’t know more about everything than his former employers do…

    it’s the nature of the beast…

    take it all with a grain of salt…

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    antispy3
    RE: OJ track
    He also ran in the USC sprint relay quartet that broke the world record at the NCAA track championships in Provo, Utah in June 1967.
    source: wikipedia

  • http://ibabuzz.com antispy3

    It’s a gag (more accurately a knife)!

    P.S.; 909raiderlifer; sorry for the slow death. Veal’s getting a bit (cadaver like) cold.

    Late(r) than normal (can hardly refer to myself with that word).

    antispy3

  • http://ibabuzz.com antispy3

    Exlaraiderseasonticketholder:

    Are you suggesting on the day in question the USC sprint relay quartet (including OJ) encountered little resistance while cutting down the previous 4X100 dash record?

    Was this the “headline” sports story of the day? Was OJ available for an interview? Where was “AC”?

    Can you say “Rimshot?”

    OBTW; I reside in the PNW, two states to the north (probably explains alot)

    late

    antispy3

  • m4ttd4ddy

    299!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! der…..

  • 909raiderlifer

    Question time….. Has Mike 49er, over on the MVN blog, and MR, ever been seen together????

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    Quetzalcoatl Says:
    On 12/23/2012 we will be playing the Broncos. As Jano lines up for a winning field goal the world will end.

    –Mayan calendar ends 12/21/2012!!!

    Carr has no drive.

  • Florida Pete

    909raiderlifer Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 11:08 am
    Question time….. Has Mike 49er, over on the MVN blog, and MR, ever been seen together????

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    are you insinuating that they may in fact be the same person (i.e. Clark Kent/Superman)…

    or are you suggesting that they may have actually (gulp) “joined” together ???

  • Dakota

    wussies still quiet?

  • Dakota

    TW,

    We made it to a stip club in Denver, La Boheme or something like that, it was okay. It was Studio 54 night, ao there were some interesting costumes.

  • Florida Pete

    Dakota Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 11:27 am
    TW,

    We made it to a stip club in Denver, La Boheme or something like that, it was okay. It was Studio 54 night, ao there were some interesting costumes.

    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    i was a doorman at Shotgun Willie’s when i was still in school…

    that was a pretty good place…

    i think it’s in Glandale…

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Dakota,
    I thought this would get the wussie troll out but it failed
    “Dakota is a Raider fan and so am I. Jealosy over the Lakers is not classy MR. So go somewear else and uncouple from the rancher who snuck up from behind on you. Why is the rancher smiling?”

  • Dakota

    Nice try Exla…did you see my WCF prediction?:

    Dakota Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 7:06 am
    Exla,

    Lakers in 5. Lakers take games 1 & 2. Spurs scratch out game 3. Lakers demoralize the Spurs in game 4 and then finish them off in game 5.

    Pistons, here we come. (Pistons in 6 over Boston)

    37 or so titles between the four teams in the conference finals….wow, must be a record.

  • Florida Pete

    i’m not sure this is the proper place to speculate as to why ranchers smile…

  • http://. Coach on Wheels

    Pirate – post 174. Thank you for doing the research on Jano I didn’t have time to do. (but suspected)

    The reality is that when Jano tries a 60+ yard kick and hits the upright, morons scream that he sucks. Fact is, he gave us a shot no other kicker would have.
    As for inconsistent touchbacks – Please! He is THE MOST CONSISTENT TB Kicker in the NFL by percentage! He is so good at it, when he doesn’t hit one, people scream that he sucks. They cheer when Gould hits a TB because it is a frickin miracle.

    People talked about the offense not “punching it in” and taking FG’s. With Jano it isn’t a case of “punching it in”. He’s taking shots from midfield!

    Complaining that Jano misses too many 50 yarders is silly. If Russell throws the ball 50 yards but is incomplete, then he stinks? Better to have a guy who can never make the throw?

    Nedney? LOL How soon we forget. Nedney from 50+ please. Nedney touchbacks?
    Considering how teams includinng the Colts and Pats have changed kickers so many times since we drafted Jano it has been Jano who has been the consistent one. Wouldn’t have taken him in the 1st round but that in of itself doesn’t mean he stinks.

  • Dakota

    Careful, some of grew up on ranches…I could rope, brand and de-nut most of you in 30 seconds flat…

  • Dakota

    correction:

    Dakota Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 11:35 am
    Careful, some of US grew up on ranches…I could rope, brand and de-nut most of you in 30 seconds flat…

  • Florida Pete

    i once read a description in a book about Errol Flynn as to how the “de-nutting” of sheep took place…

    may i nominate Maddenraider for this procedure ???

  • Dakota

    Jano could be worse, but he has been a disappointment when you consider the hype and draft position…

    but its not like there are a bunch of kickers sitting at home right now that are better than him.

  • Dakota

    Pete,

    Before we can perform the procedure his stuff would have to descend.

  • Florida Pete

    lol !!!!

  • Double H

    I’d like to know that Jano’s Numbers were inside of 40 yds? He has 34 attemps over 50? I highly doubt that many kickers have half that number in attemps. Longer field goals are harder to make…that’s why you see Hole in ones mostly on par 3s not par 4s, even Tiger has trouble hitting the driver in the fairway all the time…distance will exagerate any off-center Kick. Jano attempts kicks most other coaches wouldn’t think about trying. I also would like to see the Kick # done in 5 yd increments. My guess is that Jano is NAILs from 45 yds or less…I mean there is a huge differnece between a 41 and 49 yd field goal attmept, as well as 50 yd try and a 57 yd try. Jano is a weapon that really no other team has, and I know one day will make a big long field goal to win a game…its just those opportunities are few and far between.

  • http://. Coach on Wheels

    Jano btw was 10 of 11 inside 40 yards last year. That’s right – He was the only kicker in the NFL to have the same number of attempts from over 50 as under 40.
    That’ll work wonders on your average.
    Under 40 – 10 of 11
    40-49 – 7 of 10
    50+ – 6 of 11 (including 60+ jobs)

    Oh he would’ve been 7 of 11 if not for the Shanny time-out.

    Also – He hit 32.8% of his kickoffs for touchbacks. Five percent more than anybody else in the league. (with at least 10 kickoffs)

  • Florida Pete

    i think if Janikowski were on some other team…

    we would be wanting him here…

    and i do remember the mid to late 90′s when it seemed like we were losing too many games by less than 3 points…

    and a missed field goal seemed to be a part of the equation…

  • Dakota
  • Quetzalcoatl

    Jano is no Blanda, the greatest Raider kicker ever. Maybe we could bring George back for some camp competition…

  • 909raiderlifer

    Florida Pete…. Not insinuating anything.

    Just sayin…..

    coincidence or not??…..

  • http://. Coach on Wheels

    Vinatari is no Vinateri on another team. Jano has been in few positions to kick game winning FG’s in the last 5 years. Didn’t Jano hit a couple FG’s in the same snow (tuck) game Vinateri did? When Jano is going for a win, it isn’t like these guys booting 32-yarders. He’s trying 52 yarders to win it. In that situation we have better than 50% chance to come away with a win.
    Other teams throw hail mary’s from that field position which have what, a 3% success rate?

    Yeah he was a 1st rd pick but if he hadn’t drafted him we could’ve drafted a Tyler Brayton or Fabian Washington. It’s not like a guarentee we would’ve gotten someone better.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    I agree with Pirate arrggghhh on 174 and with COW.

    But one thing is for sure about Jano, last year´s training camp-preseason “approach” didn´t work out.

    He started the season in a funk, going 1 for 5 the first 2 games. After that, he went 22 for 27 and that included 58 and 64 yard misses.

    As for 50 plus kicks, he was 6 of 8 from up to 54 yards…3 of his misses came from 57, 58 and 64.

    Jano´s 22 Touchbacks led the lague last year, he´s either led or finished in 2nd place in TB´s 4 out of his 8 seasons and only once failed to finish outside the top 10.

    He´s also 14 for 16 in playoff games, hopefully he´ll soon have a chance to pad his playoff stats.

    And when you cringe remmebering he was a 1st round pick, just remember that Jerry has said in the past that, according to the staff, Sylvester Morris would have been the pick if not Jano.

  • Florida Pete

    909raiderlifer Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 12:08 pm
    Florida Pete…. Not insinuating anything.

    Just sayin…..

    coincidence or not??…..

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    is it a coincidence that i live in Florida and have Florida in my handle???

    well…. no.

  • Dakota

    baaaaaaaaaALDAVISRULESaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • http://erikapodaca@yahoo.com Riverside Raiders Fan

    Coach On Wheels: Post 318:

    Spin it anyway you want, but for many of us out thinking and our feelins are the same. Stats don’t win games and that’s what we’re talking about.

    Seabass at a #1 pick was suppose to be the “game-breaker.” He wasn’t a QB, a running back, a corner or line backer. He was a “freaking kicker @ #1.”

    Over the years, when we needed his kick to make a difference…he didn’t come through. Under pressure he folds…either shanking it too left or too right.

    As Just Win Baby pointed out in his response, most of us knew that Seabass would miss that second kick against Shanarat and make the rats’ day.

    Ya, he can be a good kicker at times…blah blah blah.
    But if your life was on the line, you would want him making the kick…not under pressure.

    There really should be no argument. We in Raider Nation want him to be successful, we wish him the best, but, NEVERTHELESS we’re disappointed over his productivity after being a number one draft pick.

  • Florida Pete

    Bob Marley Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Sylvester Morris would have been the pick if not Jano.

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    i can do this….

    Sylvester Who???

  • Dakota

    Sylvester was probably a long-snapper, lol.

    BaaaaaaALDAVISISAGENIUSaaaaaaa

  • Sylvester Morris

    Hey take it easy on me Mr. Marley, I am one of the Chefs all-time great receivers!

  • 909raiderlifer

    Florida Pete… So then, by using your logic…..

    They very well could be….

    One in the same….

    I kinda thought that also…

    Thanks for the clarification…

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Well, according to Jerry the staff liked WR Sylvester Morris who went to KC 3 or 4 picks later. He´s been out of the league for a while now.

  • Florida Pete

    oh, man, that’s just dumb !!!!

    did Janikowski draft himself ???

    no ???? than why hold that against him ???

    oh… and anyone who says they absolutely knew Jano was gonna miss the second 53 yarder IS A LOSER…

    because that IS how losers think…

    i’ll take Jano and his beer gut (and his occasional TD saving tackles) over any other kicker in the league right now…

    damn… you wanna hold his draft position against him ??? that’s just dumb…

    he should be a game changer ??? what, you want him to call the plays now…

    the only thing Jano needs is a pre-season like everyone else…

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    DAkota, I forgot about LaBoeme dwntwn. I live near Shotgun Willie’s Pete.
    Florida Pete Says:
    i once read a description in a book about Errol Flynn as to how the “de-nutting” of sheep took place…
    may i nominate Maddenraider for this procedure ???

    Too late….his sheep nutz are in his mouth.

  • Florida Pete

    yeah, yeah… is the Urban Cowboy still open…

    i think it was not far from Shotgun’s…

    used to play poker there…

  • Sylvester Morris

    And please do not make jokes about the fact I am named after the 2 most famous housecats in history. Being a washout on the Chiefs is humiliating enough.

  • darkknight01

    Bungals released Thurman. Hmmm….I wonder if Kiffin and Ryan should try and sign him and bring him in to camp? Odell Thurman used to be able to play and I think it would be worth to have him compete for a job on this team.

  • Brien

    Jerry you still suck. Another pointless blog article by you. Jano is fine, we need a new person to cover the Raiders. Now there is a competition for your ass right there!!!

    Please Burgess holdout I don’t want you going against the strongside verse the run

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    BaaaaaaaaaaaALDAVISSAVEDMYCAREERaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • darkknight01

    Burgess going to the strongside against the run is NOT good….

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    No Urban Cowboy, sorry.

  • Florida Pete

    Bo Schembechler Jackson = resident nut case