Part of the Bay Area News Group

Not much special teams drama

By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Thursday, July 24th, 2008 at 11:08 am in Oakland Raiders.

With the first practice convening in a little under four hours, following a press briefing from Lane Kiffin, I take a look a Raiders special teams:

Kickers–P Shane Lechler, PK Sebastian Janikowski.

Core special teams players–LS Jon Condo, S Jarrod Cooper, LB Isaiah Ekejiuba, LB Ricky Brown, LB Jon Alston, CB Chris Johnson, FB Oren O’Neal, TE Tony Stewart.

Potential return specialists–WR Johnnie Lee Higgins, S Tyvon Branch, RB Darren McFadden, CB DeAngelo Hall.

There will be the usual amount of jockeying for position on the 53-man roster with regard to special teams, but not much in the way of drama for the kickers.

It will be another Napa month of leisurely sessions for punter Lechler and Janikowski. Any kicker that comes to camp will be primarily to give these two men a break, even though they mostly lollygag through sessions, wishing they were on some Napa Valley golf course.

With no more NFL Europe exemptions and rosters limited to 80, the Raiders may not be inclined to bring in a kicker to give them a break.

Lechler is coming off his finest season, breaking 40 yards net for the first time and doing his best to carry on the legacy of Ray Guy.

Janikowski has been what he has always been _ a fairly reliable kicker from 39 yards and in but whose percentage drops off dramatically from 40 yards and out. That doesn’t make Janikowski much different than other NFL kickers, except for the fact that his ability to consistently drive through long-distance kicks was the reason he was drafted in the first round.

Condo had an excellent first season long-snapping, replacing Adam Treu, with the added bonus of being younger and faster, better suited to covering punts downfield.

Ideally, Kiffin wants Higgins to win the punt return job and Branch to be the kickoff return specialist. In the backround, for times when the Raiders desperately need a quick strike, the Raiders could turn to McFadden or Hall, but no doubt Davis would probably rather leave them out of the return equation and focus on being position players.

Cooper and Ekejiuba were the undisputed leaders of the Raiders special teams units for coverage and returns. When Cooper was back from suspension and Ekejiuba was healthy, the Raiders blanked none other than Devin Hester.

When they were hurt, the Raiders were susceptible to the big returns they seemingly always have been since they returned to Oakland in 1995.

  • Share/Bookmark

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • LARDR76

    FIRST

  • Ryder

    2nd

  • MHR

    2nd!!!

  • MHR

    Damn..3rd?

  • El Dirty

    Does Kiffin speak at 12? Is the afternoon practice the only practice today? Is there any pics from yesterday?

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Jerry,

    Tommy Kelly, Javon Walker, whatup?

  • Ryder

    let higgins take care of the returns….his speed is worth noting…and its not worth it to put mcfadden and hall at more risks for injury

    besides JLH is THE MAN!

    GO RAIDERS…AND BY THE WAY THE BRONCOS ARE FAVORED BY 1 IN THE OPENING MONDAY NIGHT, IM PUTTING DOWN ABOUT FOUR HUNDRED BUCKS ON THAT SPREAD ANY DAY

  • http://none MR

    Heads up to the Raider Nation:

    Ken Stabler lied about calling his own plays when he was QB here! This is directly from a commenter here named “Johnny Rebel”. Rebel definitively debunked Stabler’s bold claim with a wikipedia link. Can’t argue with that empirical data now, can we?

    Anyhow, this is a repost of Kenny Stabler obviously lying about calling his own plays. Again, big thanks to Johnny Rebel for calling Stabler out on his utter dishonesty.

    “When the timeout ended, Stabler went back on the field and threw the winning touchdown pass to tight end Dave Casper.

    “Those were great times,” he said. “Quarterbacks called the plays in those days, and John basically just threw the playbook at me at the start of the week and said, ‘Pick out what you want.’

    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2005/06/05/SPGPKD3F5S1.DTL

  • RIP Dan Birdwell

    The importance of Ekejiuba and Cooper on ST cannot be understated. Not only did they hold down Devin Hester, they convinced the Genius in Denver that his team could do it, too, and Hester torched them. One Denver loss, almost directly attributable to Lechler, Condo, Cooper and Ekejiuba. I’ll bet that’s good for at least a one-year scholarship for Cooper, no matter what Wesley or Eugene does.

  • WESTRAIDER
  • El Dirty

    NICE! Thanks!

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    The Raiders website stanks…no pics, dead links. They want credit for having the only NFL website for Mexicans, but they can’t even do the orig. site well!

    At least the Napa register had some pics of a few players arriving…

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Hey Johnny Reb, I wonder who called the plays on defense…it sure wasn’t Villapiano. He was too addled after getting jacked by that little guy riding the Kawasaki.
    ;)

  • Thec

    For video coverage asa they update go click on this link.
    http://www.raiders.com/Multimedia/MultimediaCenter.aspx?id=47402&categoryId=0

  • Harvey Williams

    Look at the pic of D-Mack from Napa. Man, those legs really are pretty thin. Also, I am on the edge of my seat waiting to here anything about Javon Walker. Hopefully Kiff will give us some info.

  • K-Rock

    What time is the Kiffin Press Conference?

  • Florida Pete

    Harvey Williams Says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 11:42 am
    Look at the pic of D-Mack from Napa. Man, those legs really are pretty thin. Also, I am on the edge of my seat waiting to here anything about Javon Walker. Hopefully Kiff will give us some info.

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

    yeah, Harvey…

    i’m just hoping those legs are longer than that skinny neck o’ yours…

  • https://www.us.army.mil/ texguy

    No offense to the kickers, but hopefully we won’t have to use Jano and Lechler as much this year.

    JMac and DMac need to live up to the hype and put it in the endzone.

    I am sick of seeing drives stall out and Lechler punting 6-10 times a game, and red-zone drives that end with a field-goal.

  • https://www.us.army.mil/ texguy

    And without Fumblepepper and McClown we should be looking a lot better in the turnover ratio.

  • 909raiderlifer

    Jerry Mac…

    We expect a report on Kiff’s presser, within the hour with ample quotes included.

    Don’t let those upstarts, at the Napa Valley Register. beat you to the punch, you can do it Jerry!!

    Good news on Aso, being on time for camp.

    A great day, it is!!

  • Johnny Rebel

    LMAO good one Bo:)

  • Johnny Rebel

    Now MR is mad as hell and will go on a good tirade, here it comes.

  • Dakota

    GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIDERS!

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Thec,

    I saw that short video clip with the Halle Barry wannabe…all she did is jibjab for awhile and then give 20 seconds of a Wesley interview. Underwhelming.

    But thanks for the link.

  • Florida Pete

    oh, well…

    if MR isn’t here to do it… let me help…

    blah blah blah blah Davis sucks…

    blah blah blah blech… 19-61…

    blah blah blah blooogh Ron Wolf…

    blah blah Gruden blah blah…

    oakglen eats cockroach turds…

    yer welcome, MR…

  • El Dirty

    lol

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    LOL @ FL. Pete…didn’t Harvey Williams look like a black Steve Grogan? Or Rick Burleson maybe.

    The three longest, spindliest necks in sports history.

  • 909raiderlifer

    Dakota…

    Did you see, Cal Thomas’ column yesterday??

  • exlaraiderseasonticketholder

    Florida Pete,

    You forgot, Do Not Respond! lol

  • El Dirty

    Bo
    Who was that DB that had the chicken Dance his neck was Huge!

  • Florida Pete

    Bo Schembechler Jackson Says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 12:18 pm
    Thec,

    I saw that short video clip with the Halle Barry wannabe…all she did is jibjab for awhile and then give 20 seconds of a Wesley interview. Underwhelming.

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

    Halle Berry wannabe???

    Jeanette Thompson couldn’t carry Halle’s nipple ring…

  • El Dirty

    I think he played for the chefs?

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    He did have an awfully long neck, especially for a running back lol.

  • Florida Pete

    i think Harvey’s legal name was:

    Harvey Long Neck Williams.

    (no relation to Howie though)

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Merton Hanks! Boy, he disappeared from the scene in a hurry.

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson
  • El Dirty

    Yeah! That guy lol… Longest neck I have ever seen.

  • El Dirty

    Wait wait!
    We have to switch topic Raiderfans.net might be watching!

  • Thec

    guys, that link was for future reference. any news that comes from the camp should be on that link. I expect kiffins press conf to be on there as well.

  • Thec

    Halle berry = Class by herself.

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson

    Thec,

    I hope so. I remember lots of camp arrival pics at Raiders.com the last few years. My cynical self worries they don’t want us to see Javon in a head halo and Kelly in a wheelchair…

  • Thec

    Jano can put his leg on ice…. Only thing he will be doing is pat’s and ko’s. Not much pressure considering we wont be kicking many field goals. I expect TD’s and TD’s very often. In fact take his leag off ice. He is going to get tired of kicking pat’s and ko’s more taxing on jano kicking back to back like that every freaking game, could where the big boy out.

  • Thec

    Middel finger news to all those mediots who reported russell at 3 plus bills. It was reported yesterday JRuss came in at 261lbs. So F@<k off mediots……

  • El Dirty
  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Sounds like Russell lost weight since the OTA’s even.

  • Thec

    Bo, i am still pissed at walker. no excuse for him. Hope the a@@ whoppin he purchased bought him some clarity.

    Its about the f@<King NATION nothin else

  • Harvey Williams

    Harvey hit on my friend’s wife. She told him she was married, he said “So?” She basically told him to F’off. His classy response was “Hey, I got money bi###”
    So, naturally I took his name as a handle. Heehee.

  • El Dirty

    Did Javon check in this morning?

  • http://www.dontbotherresponding.com Bo Schembechler Jackson
  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Warren Wells once ran his hand up my cousins skirt. ;-)