Camp wrap ’08: special teams


If discerning the capability of a defense with no tackling is difficult, assessing special teams is virtually impossible.

The high-speed blocking and collisions which take place on kickoffs and punts are precisely what teams try to avoid in training camp.

As for the kickers, the two guys who have the easiest time of it in Napa are the same guys who came up lame, although both Sebastian Janikowski (hamstring) and Shane Lechler (quad) should be fine for the regular season.

It’s at least a little troubling that the specialists both were injured when asked to actually extend themselves and do their jobs _ Janikowski on kickoffs and Lechler on punts.

Give them time to heal and you’ll probably get what you always get _ Janikowski will be an above-average if not game-altering kickoff man and he’ll be a good percentage kicker from 39 yards and in. He’ll be more erratic from 40 yards and out _ the area that was supposed to be his specialty _ but Seabass is on scholarship and the Raiders have no interest in providing competition at the position.

Lechler is on scholarship as well, and deservedly so. Although the Raiders would love to see Lechler take his conditioning more seriously, there is no need to bring in any other punters when you have the best in the game. Throws a nice ball when his standing-around time is interrupted as well.

Special teams practices in terms of coverage and blocking are all about getting in proper lanes and choreographing blocking schemes, and you get no real idea of how anyone is faring until actual games.

Players who should stick because of special teams skills include Isaiah Ekejiuba, Jarrod Cooper, Jon Alston (personal protector on punts), snapper Jon Condo and rookie safety Tyvon Branch. Fourth corner Chris Johnson has been working as a gunner.

Johnnie Lee Higgins will be given the chance to return both punts and kickoffs, and unless he revisits last year’s ball secruity issues, looks like a good bet to do both until Branch’s broken thumb heals and he can give kickoff returns a shot.

It remains to be seen how much Lane Kiffin will use Darren McFadden on kickoff returns, with the guess being it probably won’t be much. DeAngelo Hall’s hand injury takes the decision out of Kiffin’s hands regarding punt returns.


Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer

  • alright who broke the site again

  • The criticism of Seabass is another of those, “If we’d drafted him in the 3rd round we’d be talking about what a steal he was.” guys.

    He is THE BEST kickoff man in a league that has many “kickoff specialists” wasting roster spots.

    He is near perfect from inside 40 yards. Gee, that is what you’d expect from any kicker in the NFL.

    He struggles from 40+ is not entirely true. From 40-49 yards he is an average NFL kicker.

    BUT –

    He struggles from 50+ and that drags his stats and reputation down. People who actually follow the NFL know guys like Vinateri may attempt 1 or 2 50+ FG’s a season. Jano may try TEN! In the Denver game he hit from 50+, then got Shanny’d and hit the upright on the 2nd try. WAKE UP! Half the teams in the NFL are throwing HailMary passes in that situation. Jano gives us a shot from beyond 50 few other kickers do.

    Watch where the Titans are taking in kickoffs tonight. Last week it was between the 15-25 yard line. Jano is practicaly a member of our defense with his kickoffs.

    Kickoffs – Best in NFL
    Under 40 FG’s – Average
    40-49 yards – Average
    50+ #1 in attempts and made

    Yeah, he stinks.

  • La Milicia Negra


  • LosT

    Where in the world is Stuey Schweigert?

  • LosT

    we must not speek that name in here!

  • La Milicia Negra

    LMN has to figure out what to kill the time with.. Colbert Report from yesterday or Poker..

  • I hope Lechler gets more standing around time in the regular season. That’ll mean the offense is actually moving the ball.

  • La Milicia Negra


    I think he is in the metro in NY begging for jobs..

  • vegas raider

    I agree COW, as much fun as it is to watch him punt sometimes, once or twice a game will suffice

  • CasperGhost

    Sounds good Coach, just as long as it isn’t because of turn overs.

  • CasperGhost

    Then it would be nice to see Seabass only kicking the PAT

  • Quagmire’d

    In the metro begging for jobs? What is he Jamaican?

  • LosT
  • LosT

    408, LMN…

    Just having having fun on stueys behalf (where in the world is carmen sandiego)…Bored and can’t wait for kickoff…

  • Quagmire’d

    D-Dawg? How was that name conjured up?

  • Batman

    Are we nervous Raider Nation ? Will we stop the run tonight ? Will we be able to run the ball tonight ? Will Jarmarc hit the mark tonight ? WERE GOING TO DO IT ALL TONIGHT BABY ! I told catwomen get ready for batmans victory spanking tonight! RAIDERS KICK SOME ASS!

  • freaking pats are gonna sign Lynch

  • LosT


    McFadden was interviewed on the radio the other day. He was called DMac by the interviewer and then asked “Is DMac ok or What do you like to be called”?

    Mcfaddens answer was “I’m D-DAWG, Always Have Been. Thats what the fellas call me, my teamates and family call me. But If you want to call me Dmac, then I’ll let you.”

    So the man wants to be called D-Dawg then so be it…

  • Pats signed Old Man Lynch 1 year 1.5 mil

  • Quagmire’d

    Thanks LosT…i thought it was kinda gay.

  • Where’s Dakota? I haven’t had a picture laugh all day

  • Raiders pregame on 560 ksfo now

  • Scottish Raider

    For salary/CAP addicts only, Fox have just updated the current payroll commitments for the 32 teams:

    1 49ers $123,820,036
    2 Redskins $122,668,964
    3 Saints $116,132,251
    4 Browns $112,000,964
    5 Patriots $109,262,118
    6 Ravens $108,349,722
    7 Lions $108,005,332
    8 Broncos $107,618,050
    9 Jets $107,519,404
    10 Cowboys $106,662,942
    11 Colts $105,442,196
    12 Rams $104,665,747
    13 Seahawks $104,503,069
    14 Bills $103,851,660
    15 Titans $103,437,665
    16 Steelers $103,274,123
    17 Raiders $102,315,072
    18 Chargers $102,065,225
    19 Texans $101,097,634
    20 Bears $99,415,911
    21 Eagles $98,918,649
    22 Cardinals $98,330,390
    23 Chiefs $98,313,525
    24 Buccaneers $97,928,904
    25 Vikings $95,266,630
    26 Jaguars $88,060,571
    27 Bengals $86,962,384
    28 Panthers $85,660,041
    29 Packers $84,354,106
    30 Giants $84,175,343
    31 Falcons $78,591,241
    32 Dolphins $75,819,770

    A word of caution, these payrolls aren’t 100% kosher, because contracts are always being restructured. The good news is that we are a respectable and sensible 17th. Our CAP isn’t quite so healthy, because we have some heavy future commitments to JR, DMac, Huff, Miller, etc. But we do still have some scope for talent shopping.

    Unlike those idiots across the Bay!!!

  • I don’t know about ya’ll, but what I want 2 c alot of this season is, 8 min drives resulting n 6. one or two of those and the defense is all done, especially after the quick int via Howard, Morrison, Aso,Hall, Huff, by the way 408, huff 1 4 me bro, it’s almost 4:20 on the west coast, so close 2 toast time, titans will b ground up like big-mac patties.

  • LosT


    Didn’t like it either, but thats what he likes…

    Coaches name is Monte Lane Kiffin Jr., but he goes by Lane.

  • george atkinson sounds drunk all the time! or his toung is too big 4 his mouth

  • El Dirty

    It’s on in 2 hours!!!!! I hope I am wrong about everything I have said about the passing game! leaving work in 1 hour and turning off the phone, getting a carne burrito, 12 pack off Corona, feeding the dog and locking the door!

  • La Milicia Negra

    El Dirty..

    is it me does time go slower the closer we come?

  • Geez Scottish, u must really like 2 type, why don’t u type up a few eulogies, starting with the first three 4 the charge-pukes, donk-d!ks, queef-coppers!!!

  • Los Malosos

    Less than 2 hrs to game time baby! Six pack of Tecatito! hahahaha! We shoulda kicked their butts last season, JRock & D-Dawg will do us right this time around….animo razita!

  • Homey 1 4 you on the way home on 101! freaking hate traffic a swisher will get me home tho

  • El Dirty


    Longest hour ever!!! Reminds me of school!!!

  • La Milicia Negra

    El Dirty…

    true LOL =)

  • raidernathan

    Looking forward to this year. I have a good feeling the Raider Nation will be celebrating a lot this year.

    Some of you, who I won’t name, seem like they would rather be right than be winning. I’m all for trying to keep things real and on paper this team should make the playoffs. But we know games are played on the field. This team has the makings of putting together a successful year. Successful doesn’t need to be playoffs, just a HUGE improvement over the last few years, which include more wins. For me, 8-8 would be a successful year. Anything greater than that would exceed my expectations. And quite frankly I want my expectations exceeded. And with this schedule, they can very well do that.

    One other thing. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, good or bad, right or wrong. But that’s what makes it an opinion, because they could be good and right to some, bad and wrong to others. But we are all Raider fans and we can agree to that.

    Here’s to the Raiders for finishing the year with a better winning percentage than the previous 5 years combine.

  • El Dirty


    Well said…

  • El Dirty


    Lad os drikke til fremtiden for vores elskede hold … Gå Raiders!

  • Mcfadden & Harris comming up on pre gam! This is the hardcore Kool-aid for all us homers in the nation

  • dirty huh?

  • vegas raider

    My wife calls George Atkinson “marble mouth” and I think it is her highlight of preseason, watching and listening to his sideline reports

  • El Dirty

    I cheat when I talk to LMN


  • 0 days, 1 hours, 33 minutes, and 32 seconds left until the Oakland Raiders visits the Tennesse Titans.

  • Yo dirty how bout a flick?

  • The NEWS

    LOL regarding the Atkinson comments. Dude needs to be pulled from the TV coverage. Heck – pull him from radio too.

    I appreciate all the Kool-aid he prepares for us Raider fans but the man can’t speak coherently. I get embarrassed just watching him.

  • Sticking with the theme …For all you’s Youtube fanatics …you can check TBranch out on is 2 KRs for TDs last year. 27 returns 780yds 2TDs in ‘07

    Skip the noise

    vs Rutgers 50secs into vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PftZR_9QvIE

  • vs Akron 1:50secs into vid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7XRj0kZRMg

  • Hope Branch turns out to be what they think he can be as a KR.

  • Get well soon Plunkett! Dude had surgery on both knees! Ouch

  • NoLuv4Hoes

    im with you Los Malosos but instead of tecatones voy a tomar Bohemia, my favorite beer!

  • Joey Bee 1

    Branch will be All-Pro in 2 years.

  • Joey Bee 1

    With Namdi and DeAngelo in camp, everyone will get better.