By Jerry McDonald - NFL Writer
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 at 2:32 pm in Oakland Raiders.
Much was made of the low-hanging video scoreboard which hovers above much of the sparkling new Cowboys Stadium.
Speculation was that it would be a target for punters who really got into one and could interrupt the flow of the game.
False alarm. Through five home games, the screen remains untouched during a game, punters occasionally nail it during warmups.
And here comes Shane Lechler, who kicks the ball higher and farther than anyone in the NFL _ No. 1 all-time in terms gross yards per punt.
“I don’t think he’s gonna hit it if he kicks it. I mean, nobody’s even come close except the guy that kicked it straight up in preseason to try to hit it,” Cowboys coach Wade Phillips told Bay Area reporters during what may have been the most lifeless conference call in NFL history. “Shane doesn’t kick ‘em straight up. We haven’t had anybody that had any problem with it.”
As it stands, the only in-game striking of the scoreboard came from Tennessee’s A.J. Trepasso, who didn’t even make the roster.
Said Lechler: “If that guy in Tennessee can hit it, I can hit it.”
Lechler got his first scouting report from 49ers punter Andy Lee, who said, “it isn’t that big of a deal. He said you could hit it but it’s going to take a perfect shot. He said you can hit it in pre-game all you want.”
Lechler said trying to nail the scoreboard in the event of a big point margin one way or the other would be selfish. If he hits it, it’s a do-over, which taxes the coverage teams.
“If we’re backed up and they have to run 60, 70 yards, it takes a toll, especially to have to turn around and do it right away,” Lechler said. “I’ve got guys, some of them play on offense and some of those guys are going to go right into the defensive series. It’s tough on them.”
However, if the scoreboard happens to get in the way . . .
“I’m not going to go for it. If it’s there, it’s there,” Lechler said.
With the Raiders in town Thursday, and the Chargers Mike Scifres visiting in the Cowboys’ next game, the moment of truth has arrived.
“If it’s going to get hit, it’s going to get hit within the next two weeks, I would say,” Lechler said.
Quick update: Richard Seymour practiced without limitations, a good indication he’ll be ready to face Dallas. Jon Alston is having “residual” post-concussion symptoms and is being evaluated. Isaiah Ekejiuba did not practice and is questionable. With Alston out and Ekejiuba questionable, Slade Norris, who has been cleared to play after a hamstring issue, could be placed on the 53-man roster.
More to come . . .