442

Time for Seabass to compete

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.

  • Share/Bookmark

Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • Florida Pete

    RaiderTW Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 12:33 pm
    No Urban Cowboy, sorry.

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

    yeah, the place opened after Travolta made the movie…

    then became a poker place…

    then poker became illegal…

    place is probably a restaurant now…

  • Florida Pete

    time to go home….

    see ya all later…

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Resident nut case? Pete, show some class.

  • 909raiderlifer

    Back to reality… I have put in my 2 or 3 cents in on Seabass already, but I will add this thought.

    I think that this season, Seabass will NOT be trying as many 40-50 yrd. attempts, for that the offense will not be stalling out on as many drives.
    I have three reasons for openers, on why I think this will happen
    1] Mike Bush, will not get stopped on short yardage.
    2]D Mac will be deadly on 3rd & 4-8 plays, turning them into long gains or better yet, T.D.s
    3] J Russ will be able to make that tight throw on, 3rd & 7 or better.

    All of the above, we did not have last year.
    ( throwing out Russell’s starts)

    Thus, Seabass will not have to try so many long FG attempts.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    And about Sylvester Morris, don´t take it from me, Jerry wrote about it, make of it what you will.

    “Could have had: The name everyone brings up here is Shaun Alexander, who went to Seattle at No. 19 and became a touchdown machine. Problem is, the Raiders were happy with Tyrone Wheatley and Napoleon Kaufman and had they not taken Janikowski, were set to go with Jackson State’s Sylvester Morris. Morris went No. 21 to Kansas City, suffered a serious knee injury, and never made an impact.”

    Jerry McDonald, April 10th, 2008.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Ancient history anyways, fact is Jano is here and he does need to improve his concentration sometimes.

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    FACT: Jano folds the Oakland Raiders franchise record for highest field goal completion percentage (76% entering 2008).

  • Dakota

    At least Jano has stayed out of trouble and he has shown some dedication to his profession by losing weight…or he was just slimming down for the Cali girls.

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Dedication or liposuction?

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    BaaaaaaaaaaaBEERFORBRAINSaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • i dress in black

    909raiderlifer – good points. Still doesn’t solve his problem of not be reliable in the clutch.

  • Tonio

    Accepting the fact that all opinions are allowed here… I don’t at all understand the “jerry you suck” comments… etc… if ya’ll don’t like his contribution… I’m sure there’s more than ample “other” blogs to go to… It makes no sense (to me), and neither is it important to spew. If you don’t like this place… don’t eat here…

  • Florida Pete

    Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    BaaaaaaaaaaaBEERFORBRAINSaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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

    um, could you please tell us the brand of this beer and just how much beer would be exchanged for one’s cranial content…

    (this is important, one does not exchange one’s brains for any old beer and quantity should always be taken into consideration)

  • RaiderMight

    Looks like Stuard Schweigert was finally cut today:

    sfgate.com / cgi-bin/blogs/sfgate/indexn?blogid=11

    (copy and paste url without the extra space characters)

  • Florida Pete

    stu will now go to work for the food network…

    instead of saying: “BAM”…

    he will be saying: “OOOPS”…

  • Dakota

    bye bye Stu…we will not miss you.

  • RaiderMight

    I thought his job would be to do Homer Simpson voice overs? DOH!

  • Raider4life

    Thank God and praise the Lord. My prayers have finally been answered. Lil Stui is gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been waiting for this day for so long and now my dream has come true. Thank you God.

  • Florida Pete

    Dakota Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    bye bye Stu…we will not miss you.

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

    but he will miss you…

    and me…

    and him…

    and her…

  • Dakota

    Jeeez, I thought we could get a 2nd round pick for Stu (kidding)! (don’t lie, I know some of you thought so, lol)

  • Tonio
  • Tonio

    Who’s gonna blog for us now :(

  • Dakota

    Okay, the #3 pick signed in ATL for 6 years, $72 million, $34 guaranteed and a signing bonus of $30 million.

    Lets get McFadden signed baby! Maybe the Stu execution today is to clear cap space for McFadden.

    Next up, Lamont Jordan in 10 days or so.

  • Alvis Whitted’s Ghost

    Stuart Schweigert was a damn good Safety.

  • RaiderMight

    Dakota Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 1:40 pm
    Jeeez, I thought we could get a 2nd round pick for Stu (kidding)! (don’t lie, I know some of you thought so, lol)

    ——-

    He made it hard to get anything when he tweaked his hamstring at the start of OTAs.

    I am sure his release has a lot to do with the upcoming signing of McFadden.

  • Dakota

    Good one Pete.

  • RaiderMight

    Jordan will be soon. When is the June deadline for cuts?

  • Dakota

    oooops, Correction:

    Dakota Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 1:42 pm

    Okay, the #3 pick signed in ATL for 6 years, $72 million, $34 guaranteed.

    Lets get McFadden signed baby! Maybe the Stu execution today is to clear cap space for McFadden.

    Next up, Lamont Jordan in 10 days or so.

  • Tonio

    No. 3 overall pick Ryan to get $34.75M guaranteed from Falcons :o

  • Florida Pete

    thank you, thank you very much…

  • Quagmire’d

    McToothpicks is going to get more guaranteed money as a #4 pick than JaMarcus got as the #1…lol…like that makes any sense. Thank you ATL.

  • Dakota

    Something to keep in mind, the Bungholes can trade CJ after June 1st without taking quite as big of a salary cap hit….hmmmm.

  • Alvis Whitted’s Ghost

    Lamont Jordan is a damn good RB.

  • Raider4life

    Who the f*ck is gonna miss Lil Puss Stui gettin run over by every running back we play. That dude was lucky to have a freakin job in the NFL. Now he can finally do what he was born to do. Being a tackling dummy. Good ridence you piece of garbage. Don’t let the door smack you in the as* on the way out. Lil Puss Stui is lucky he got cut else the were a couple of girl scouts who were gonna beat his stupid white aa* in the parking lot.

  • Florida Pete

    let’s give the kid a bonus of $5 million …

    and $2500 / yard…

    let him run for it…

  • Raider4life

    Alvis please stop

  • spawn

    Lamont Jorden out of shape drop his ass now and sign Darren McFadden

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    No more Raider.com blog with Stuart Schweigert. RIP
    Hope you enjoyed your time in the NFL.

  • RaiderMight

    McFadden will not get more than Russell got last year. There is an extra premium on QBs, plus his deal was for 6 years.

    Jake Long, the #1 over all got 30 mil guaranteed for 5 years.

    I guess it will depend more on what Chris Long gets.

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Re: BEERFORBRAINS

    Pete, in the name of research I just poured a can of PBR in my left ear. Unfortunately I forgot to plug my right ear so it ran right out but I got an incredible buzz….very euphoric. Or maybe I’m just high on life now that Stu has gone the way of Patrick Bates.

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    Jano doesn’t need to lose weight for Cali girls….that’s what roofies are for.

    Shaun Alexander, who went to Seattle at No. 19 and became a touchdown machine. Problem is, the Raiders were happy with Tyrone Wheatley and Napoleon Kaufman????

    They should have been happy with Justin Fargas,Dominic Rhoades, Lamont Jordan, Michael Bush,Adimchinobi Echemandu.

  • Alvis Whitted’s Ghost

    I’ll stop if you stop making racist comments.

    Raider4life Says:
    May 20th, 2008 at 1:47 pm
    “…Lil Puss Stui is lucky he got cut else the were a couple of girl scouts who were gonna beat his stupid white aa* in the parking lot.”

  • Quagmire’d

    We’ll see RaiderMight….we’ll see.

  • http://raiders.com RaiderTW

    Or maybe I’m just high on life now that Stu has gone the way of Patrick Bates.

    I used to be high on life, but I built up a tolerance.

  • Dakota

    Word of caution about Stu;

    he was pretty good coming out of college, and he has only learned under the wisdom of Rob f-ing Ryan…I will not be surprised if a decent d-coordinator can make something out of the kid.

    Probably not, but you never know.

  • DoeDoe

    What It Doo Nation – So Stue is finally gone with the wind

  • Quagmire’d

    Lol…good one Dakota.

  • Tonio

    a “decent” d coordinator… isn’t gonna tackle for him…

  • Bo Schembechler Jackson

    I expect Stu will file a grievance with the bullfighters union and Al will have to give him an equivalent job and back pay.

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    In an error, the Lions sent a season ticket holder an e-mail that said “f*ck them till next year”
    http://www.theoaklandpress.com/stories/051608/spo_20080516255.shtml