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.

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  • Florida Pete

    El Dirty Says:
    July 24th, 2008 at 12:38 pm
    http://www.britfilms.tv/images/news/Halle%20Berry%20pose.jpg

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

    the girl does have talent…

    and i do know talent when i see it…

  • El Dirty

    SO FAKE!

  • Scottish Raider

    If Coop and Eke are essential for their special teams leadership, then spaces have to be found elsewhere in the roster. That could mean just two TEs or five WRs or six DBs. Sure will crank up the competition.

    Jon Condo was one of last years big successes. No missed snaps and a big special teams contribution. Condo came from nowhere, he wasn’t supposed to have any chance of making the roster but he stepped up to the plate and struck Treu out of town.

    Who is this year’s Jon Condo:

    Greyson Gunheim DE – Right size, local boy, high on character but does he have the talent?

    Malik Jackson LB – Quick, aggressive, but does he have the power and the smarts?

    Tranell Morant DT – 6’6 and still growing, long arms, very raw but a huge upside. Is he ready?

    Darrell Strong TE – Big enough, strong enough, but can he offer enough to challenge for the back-up behind Miller. Both he and Chris Wagner are not without hope.

    And don’t write off our pair of Huskies, Reece and Rankin. They might be bound for the Practice Squad but they both have real ability and suffered due to Washington’s unpopularity with NFL scouts.

  • McRaider

    STOP calling Nnamdi a class act!!!

    According the MR, Al only drafts losers and busts.

    Oh, wait a minute…I think Nnamdi was callahan’s pick. Of course Al had nothing to do with it.

  • http://0 Bob Marley

    Texguy….post 18.

    You´re right, last season the Raiders had more Offensive Turnovers (37) than trips to the Red Zone (35).

    The good thing is we managed to control the clock and set the pace in several games, now we just need to fine tune some stuff to turn that advantage into more points.

    We had a major improvement in cutting down the 3 and outs, but one or two 1st downs a series and 20 to 25 yards gained will help with the clock, but at the end you win with points, not minutes.

    I´m confident we’ll get better in year 2.

  • Florida Pete

    i never look at a woman’s toes…

    ain’t right, man…

  • El Dirty

    Dont worry Pete Its photo shop

  • Johnny Rebel

    I smell a 3 touchdown win over the donkeys.

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

    Serious Tip:

    Guys like me with a keen eye for horse flesh, look for length of neck in women. They will never have elegant line without a long neck.

  • El Dirty
  • StrahanManNY

    Raiders? LOL. Y’all got no defense. Everybody knows that. I feel sorry for you guys. You all are the most optimistic fans in football in the pre season. Only to be let down by like week 5 or 6, when the Raider curse starts to kick in. It must get taxing after a while. I don’t get it. Al Davis brings in good talent, but you all just can’t win. Something’s in the water in Oakland. Anyhow, here’s to another failed season for the Raider Nation. Bookies in Manhattan are taking bets on how long Kiffin will last. Nobody yet that I know of has bet on Kiffin being there all year.

    NY GIANTS. 3 time Super Bowl Champions. Current SB Champions. Just wanted to check in on how things were at the bottom. The weather’s nice up here, at the TOP! Good luck, Raider Nation. LOL.

  • El Dirty

    Lets see you guys do it again… Thanks for Wilson

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

    Scottish, my favorite on your list is Reece. A poor man’s Vernon Davis. But can he block? If so, I think he could swipe Madsen’s spot.

    And was Treu out of football after getting cut? I remember he was our longest tenured Raider for a while, but he sure stank in the SB. Knowing Robbins was so unstable we really should have had a better backup center that year.

  • Johnny Rebel

    This will be fun already getting outsider posts or MR. But don’t we play in NY agaisnt the just end the season team?

  • Thec

    chaz schilens my sleeper pick. Also I wouldnt sleep on rankin, he will land on an NFL team if we dont keep him somehow.

  • El Dirty

    Rebel we play in Oakland Vs. Pests

  • Johnny Rebel

    Funny we have a .700 win percentage versus the Giants.

  • Thec

    Are we talking to bowman, henry, or robinson? I say we bring in even more competition. F the scholarship that included walker. he better be ready at 3pm today.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    It’s reported 200,000 Germans packed Berlin’s Victory Column Square to hear Barack Obama speak today, waving American Flags.

  • Johnny Rebel

    Yeah they know they will get money from American tax payers.

  • Thec

    Javon “purchased a vegas beat down” Walker better be in shape.

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Nah, they they won’t take the US Dollar, maybe Euros

  • StrahanManNY

    Typical Raider fans, always going to the history vaults. Here’s some history for you:

    2007 Giants: Super Bowl Champions.

    2007 Raiders: 4-12.

  • Thec

    The NATION is just made up of TRUE fans. we wont jump off the wagon when losing. looking forward to the day we ascend to our birthright.

  • Johnny Rebel

    7-3 vs the giants, enough said.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Looks like MR is now a Giants fan.

  • Harvey Williams

    David White SFGATE

    Kiffin meets the press
    Raiders coach Lane Kiffin met with reporters for the first time at camp Thursday afternoon. Here are some nuggets, with a blog follow-up coming after the 3-5 p.m. practice.

    LaMont Jordan: Kiffin said the situation is being handled by Raiders owner Al Davis and agent Alvin Keels. Jordan is the only player on the 80-man roster who is not at camp — because the team told him to stay away — and he is not being fined.

    Javon Walker: The wide receiver is good to go one month after being robbed and assaulted in Las Vegas. He will, however, be limited to one practice a day when there are two-a-days.

    Other injury updates: Everyone passed the conditioning test Wednesday morning, which means everyone is cleared to practice.

    Like Walker, others returning from injury will be held to one practice a day: receiver Ronald Curry, defensive tackle Ronald Curry, center Jake Grove and safety Jarrod Cooper — all players returning from surgery.

    Camp schedule: Players will practice in pads today, with the game-situation work coming during tomorrow’s two-a-day. Training camp will go three weeks and break before the trip to Tennessee.

    The Raiders also finalized a shared practice with the 49ers, set for Monday, Aug. 4 in Napa. The teams will practice twice that day, which comes the week of their Friday exhibition opener at The Coliseum.

  • El Dirty

    NY
    I dont even think you will the playoffs this year.

  • StrahanManNY

    Last Giants/Raider meeting:

    December, 2005.

    Giants 30, Raiders 21.

    Oh yeh, we’re better now. Yall are worse now. your lucky your not playing us this year. unless they gave you 15 points, nobody on the planet would take the Raiders. not even their crazy fans.

  • McRaider

    StrahanManNY,

    Why are you on a raider blog site? Why don’t you go talk Giants on your own site? You must be a closet raider fan or a bandwagon Giant fan.

    I have never posted a message on another site. No one has even mentioned the Giants on this site.

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Holy crap I knew Curry was buling up in the offseason, but I didn’t know they moved him to defensive tackle. At least we now have a decent D Line!! IM IN.

    “Like Walker, others returning from injury will be held to one practice a day: receiver Ronald Curry, defensive tackle Ronald Curry, center Jake Grove and safety Jarrod Cooper — all players returning from surgery”.

  • Johnny Rebel

    Worst nightmare for non-raider fans? The Raiders win 2 Superbowls and Davis retires to become a commentator.

  • Harvey Williams

    Wait, that guy is Strahan’s Man? I guess all of the rumors are true.

  • StrahanManNY

    LOL at this faider fan tellling us we’re not going to the playoffa…you guys are the last fans that need to be telling fans of other teams they won’t make the playoffs. you guys are a lock to not go to the playoffs, every year.

  • El Dirty

    Notice how the article didn’t say Kelly…

  • http://raiders.com Einstein

    Strahan needs some dental or orthodontic work done. Dudes gap is like a breaking leavy…

  • http://www.car.org KoolKell

    Well’ let’s see if Kelly practices this afternoon. So far, so good.

  • http://raiders.com Strahans Grill

    Help me, I need a dentist quick…. My gap is showing..

  • StrahanManNY

    lol, what is a raider blog site? I found this through the google search, man. i’m posting here, aint i? Guess that means I’m welcome. Take it up with the blog operators, fool. but i can see why you all woldn’t want a giants fan in here. when you’re at the bottom, the last thing you need is someone at the top to remind you.

  • http://raiders.com Strahans Grill

    I am retired now, put me in a chair, set me back, and drill away. Maybe some invisiline, veneers, or the old schoold wire braces with head gear can fix this gap.

  • StrahanManNY

    how bout that gap between today and the last raider super bowl title?

  • http://raiders.com Strahans Grill

    Not as big as the gap in my teeth, but it’s all good.

  • StrahanManNY

    Strahan’s teeth are perfect. They look like the teeth of a Super bowl champion. But you faider fans woulnd’ tknow about that. half of you punks weren’t even born when the faiders won their last super bowl. what year was it again? 1985? damn!! that’s a long time. Whens the last time the giants won a Super Bowl? 2007. how far did you all go last year? and the year before that? and the year before that?

  • http://raiders.com Strahans Grill

    Maybe if I have any money left after my divorce my boyfriend will take me to the dentist and hook me up with some much needed dental work. Hmmm… maybe I should contact John Elway’s oral surgeon, I bet he gives good oral.

  • Harvey Williams

    You guys are done with your Superbowls for awhile. But, I will say this. At least you kicked some Patriot A$$

  • McRaider

    I don’t care that you are here, I just wonder why? Again, if you are a true giant fan, why are you not talking giant football to people who care? Why are you searching for Raider blogs sites on google? just wonder dude, no need to get uptight.

  • Scottish Raider

    Bo, I agree about Reece being one to watch. After Miller, our TE depth chart is wide open. I fear this is the end for Madsen, but a real opportunity for someone else.

    Thec, Schilens is an intriguing prospect but much will depend on whether we take 5 or 6 WRs. The pressure will be on JLH to cement his place at No4, after that it is a straight fight between Watkins, Shields and Schilens.

    Watkins has the best hands, Shields has the best speed, Schilens has the biggest upside. If Schilens performs, he might be too valuable to put on the practice squad.

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

    Its hard to hate on the Giants after the put Brady on the ground so successfully last year and spared us the undefeated NE media suckfest.

    That being said, doesn’t a real Giants fan have a team of his own to follow? And now that Strahan has quit the game, can’t he get some caps on that grill? He could floss with Nicole Ritchie’s legs, for Al’s sake!

  • StrahanManNY

    lol. these fools got so much faith in their team that all they can respond with is irelevant facts from the history vault and strahan’s teeth. that’s why yall are the most clowned fans in sports. shouldve expected it.