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Lechler looking toward the future, uncertain what it holds

Punter Shane Lechler and kicker Sebastian Janikowski are the only two players on the Raiders 53-man roster that experienced a winning season with this team. This season marks Lechler’s 13th season, and it just might be his final one in a Raiders uniform.

Lechler is in the final year of the four-year contract he signed in 2009 that made him the highest-paid punter in NFL history. It remains to be seen whether he will be back for a 14th season.

“Oh, yeah, I’ve thought about it, had long discussions with my wife about it,” Lechler said Monday. “It’s one of those things where you don’t have any control over it and it’s kind of frustrating. But, in the same sense, it’s exciting and frustrating at the same time, if it can be that. That’s what it is. Just a lot of long conversations with the wife, we’ve got kids in school now, so we need to figure out something and go from there.”

Lechler said he had high hopes for this season, given the Raiders finished 8-8 each of the past two seasons and came one win away from winning the AFC West last season.

He joined the Raiders as a fifth-round pick out of Texas A&M in 2000, at a time when the Raiders were just taking off under then-coach Jon Gruden.

The Raiders qualified for the AFC Playoffs in each of Lechler’s first three seasons, culminating with a Super Bowl appearance under coach Bill Callahan in 2002.

“I wish that would have happened a little bit later in my career so I wouldn’t have taken it so much for granted,” Lechler said. “We walk right into this thing and go to the AFC Championship Game. I thought that was how it was going to be. Didn’t quite turn out that way.”

No, it didn’t. As it turned out, the Raiders went 4-12 in Lechler’s fourth season and haven’t had a winning season in any of the past 10. They are 3-10 right now.

Through it all, Lechler was the one consistent bright spot for the Raiders, racking up Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections seemingly every season.

This season, Lechler is 10th in gross punting average and 21st in net punting average. Part of that owes to Lechler being bothered by a knee injury that required surgery just before training camp started — he said he didn’t feel 100 percent healthy until midway through this season.

Lechler is playing for his eighth head coach this year. He said it’s imperative the Raiders stick with Dennis Allen and give Allen a chance to turn around the Raiders.

“Though it may not look like it in our record and what’s happened on Sundays, this place is headed in the right direction,” Lechler said.

And Allen is the one of the primary reasons the Raiders are headed in the proper direction, Lechler said.
“D.A. is good for this job,” Lechler said. “He’s got my full support. Somewhere in here, we’re going to have to let a guy coach for a few years to figure out. It’s not much different than the college football. You give a guy four years, let him recruit players, let him develop his players and see how they are then, instead of change and change and change. But this is Oakland.”

General manager Reggie McKenzie and owner Mark Davis haven’t tipped their hand on how they intend to proceed with Lechler.

Well, that is, unless you count the decision to place undrafted rookie punter Marquette King on season-ending reserve.

“Yeah, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen it happen before,” Lechler said.

That’s the kind of move that means one of two things: The Raiders intend to let Lechler walk after this season, or they are keeping King on ice in case Lechler opts to sign elsewhere.

“I’m not real worried about it,” Lechler said. “If that’s the direction they choose to go, they choose to go. I don’t have any doubt in his ability. He needs some time.

“It was frustrating for a little while because this is my job, and it has been mine for 13 years. You can feel how you want to about it. I took it a little bit personal early but after that I was like, ‘You know what? I can only worry about so many things around here.’ So, that was one of them that I needed to stop worrying about.”

Long-snapper Jon Condo called Lechler a leader in the locker room and on the field, the kind of guy whose value transcends all the Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections.

Lechler, Condo and kicker Sebastian Janikowski arguably are the best specialists trio in the league.
“I’ve seen punters along the way that can boom a punt 67 yards, but their next might be 20, 30 yards,” Condo said. “He’s always consistent, he’s always there. Just his presence in the locker room and on the field, it’s big for our team. I know with Bass, it’s a safety net for him, it’s a safety net for me, when the three of us are together.

“We all have faith and trust in one another, and that’s a big thing in specialists when you’re out there kicking a field goal or punting a ball from the back of your end zone. Without trust in the guy you’re working with, that’s one thing that has helped out me a lot is having faith and trust. Also, there’s a comfort level. Anytime those guys are on the field you feel comfortable. If you’re comfortable, you’re going to play a lot better.”

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Steve Corkran

  • theghostronin79

    Holes…….Durrr

  • DennisAllensVisor

    theghostronin79 Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 9:37 am
    DAV….. It just makes sense. I know we desperately need a premium pick but, with all the wholes we have to fill. Why not drop down into the middle of the 1st and aquire a 2nd and maybe future pick in the process. We need a PILE of picks to even START fixing this mess.

    —-

    Exactly.

  • 504 Raider

    If we played Western Kentucky this weekend we would probably win by 3. And we would most definitely get outcoached.

  • DennisAllensVisor

    Taiwan Jones & maybe even Pryor will be used to trade up in later rounds of the draft..

    Would like to see Pryor play well the last few games and be the starter though..

  • The Big Banana

    Wether you agree with trading down or not, trading down is more than likely the direction Big Mac will take. He wants bodies/picks. More the merrier.

  • bcz24

    995.Raiderbuck Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 9:27 am
    I’m trying to get an answer on Seymours voided contract. If it’s voided do we still owe him money?
    **********
    No we do not pay him another cent, however, the accelleration of his signing bonus from this years restructure will cost us 5.5 mil in dead money towards next years cap.

  • The_Judge37

    I just hope guys like Bryant, Shaughnessy and Houston were able to take something away from Seymour other than his Personal Fouls, which i didn’t mind so much.

  • http://www.raiders.com Raider O

    We need impact players.
    I like to trade down, if we think we can still draft an impact players, but I don’t want to trade down just to trade down.

  • Macho Man Randy Savage

    If we are shifting to a 3-4 D, then the key is the NT, we dont have one, you need to draft a beast and his backup… If yo have a solid 3, then you can just plug in athletic LBs at 4. Pittsburgh has made a living off this, so has Balt, no matter who the LBs are if the DLs are solid the D will work.

  • manassamauler

    The Big Banana Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 9:45 am

    Wether you agree with trading down or not, trading down is more than likely the direction Big Mac will take. He wants bodies/picks. More the merrier.

    >> he could do that. but the defense has NO play maker,no leadership. Belichick is the master of trading down but he only did because he had leadership on both sides of the ball. raiders have zero leadership on defense. they need a QB for that defense. IMO it has to be DT star lotulei OR MLB manti from ND.

  • manassamauler

    DennisAllensVisor Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Taiwan Jones & maybe even Pryor will be used to trade up in later rounds of the draft..

    Would like to see Pryor play well the last few games and be the starter though..

    >. Pryor won’t play here unless palmer gets hurt or another team is foolish enough to trade for him. Pryor could end being traded to AZ or JAC

  • oakfshow

    Dennis Allen does not deserve more time,he sucks.Who cares what a punter suckin a$$ for a job next year says.Gruden,Hue would have put these players in their respected skill sets to make plays by useing what they do best.Not the other way around like DA.

  • ddwight

    oakfshow Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 10:12 am
    Dennis Allen does not deserve more time,he sucks.Who cares what a punter suckin a$$ for a job next year says.Gruden,Hue would have put these players in their respected skill sets to make plays by useing what they do best.Not the other way around like DA.

    ——————————————————————–

    Great post, I second That!

  • http://www.GodIsImaginary.com RaiderDuck

    Macho Man Randy Savage Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 10:03 am
    If we are shifting to a 3-4 D, then the key is the NT, we dont have one, you need to draft a beast and his backup… If yo have a solid 3, then you can just plug in athletic LBs at 4. Pittsburgh has made a living off this, so has Balt, no matter who the LBs are if the DLs are solid the D will work.

    ================================================

    Star Lotuleili should be available where we’re drafting. Problem solved.

  • shutdown

    “McClain is a moron but I can’t disagree with what he (allegedly) said about nobody respecting Allen.”

    1) “Alleged”. Some other poster gave an account of what happened because he read it an “premium board”. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    2) Assume the sources on the “premium board” (HAHAHAHAHAHAHA again) are correct about the basic outline of that incident. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine a slackard of a bust of a first round draft choice who is sooooo stupid he pulled what he did with a gun last year would criticize a coach like a spoiled kid who was caught by a teacher once again misbehaving or underperforming or not performing: “Well, everyone else HATES you too, TEACHER…I’m not the ONLY ONE. NA NA NA NAAAAAAAAA.”

    Come off it, people. #55 has issues and ever since he’s been here he’s been underperforming and acting weird. No matter who was coach, this was coming to a head. Had it been a name coach who called him out, he’d have still said choice things, like the kid who has no control of his mouth. He’s a loser in every way.

    I admire DA for kicking him off the field. I wish Hue had benched him all season last year. We weren’t going anywhere with him or w/out him, but indulging players like that was Al Davis’ Achilles’ heel for decades because he was too full of hubris to admit mistakes.

  • shutdown

    331:Wtf is the point of hiring offensive coaches and wide recievers coaches if they cant coach players up on how to run routes or plays the way they want them ran?
    ________________________________________________

    You do know that you can put a kid in algebra, geometry or calc and he can be incapable of understanding the subject matter, no matter the excellence of the teacher, right?

    You do know you can advance a kid into an honors or AP class and he can fail, right?

    You do know people are limited in their talents, right?

    We have some young players (D. Moore, for one) who may be excellent down the road, may be game changers. We also have some who will never progress in skill enough to be more than the occasional success (DHB)…and it’s okay to keep a guy like DHB on the team because he can stretch the field and he can occasionally come up big, but it’s not reasonable to expect him to be a consistent game-changer because he is limited in his capacity to catch balls.

    Reggie is looking for football players, he said. The implication was clear: he felt Al was always (not just sometimes) looking for the next big sleeper, the guy everyone else missed, and Al used speed and size as the criteria on which he drafted. He ignored whether that players speed or size was pertinent to the game of football and he ignored the player’s football skills. IOW, Al was always under the impression that an athlete could become an NFL football player whether or not the kid had been a football player.

  • shutdown

    “What is wrong with people today that have to post everything they are thinking privately on twitter?

    “Stephen Jackson fined $25K for threats to Serge Ibaka.

    “Brandon Jacobs suspended last three games for negative comments about the team.”
    _______________________________________________

    The fact is that among the players who make it to the NFL you have a substantial cohort of high aggression + low impulse control + low average to low IQ individuals. Such a combo of personality traits leads to such behavior.

  • shutdown

    “When I see players not even playing inspiring football and just going through the motions.

    “Tells me they don’t respect the coaching staff and don’t give a crap.”

    Just goes to show you people see different things. I don’t see players who have given up. I see players who can’t “keep up” with the opposition.

  • daraider09

    Mistic1 Tha Supavillain Says:
    December 10th, 2012 at 2:57 pm
    The Big Banana Says:
    December 10th, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    vertical passing offense would have been a disaster for palmer

    —–

    Lol! Is that why DHB enjoyed the best production of his career with Palmer and Hue?

    Hue, whom you claimed you were in lockstep with, seemed to think Palmer was a great fit for the vertical game. Best trade in football? Giving up a 1st and 2nd? Lol! No offense, but I’ll believe Hue over you on this one. Lol
    ===========

    hue miscalculated

    palmer threw 16 picks in 9 games

    now he has 14 picks he is better in knapps offense

    ******************************************
    The problem I have had all year with this line of reasoning is that he threw 6 of those 16 picks in the first 10 days he was in the building. 3 in the KC disaster after the trade, down 21-0 in the 2nd half without knowledge of the offense at all. And 3 more in the first start he had against Denver the following week. Very limited knowledge. And by the way tossed 3 TD passes in that Denver game as well and gave us a 10 point lead that we promptly gave away to the tune of 300 yards rushing by Tebow and McGahee. That history cant be rewritten. It happened.

    Looking at the 2 realistic winnable games for our team that we gave away last season under Palmer; the Lions game and the season ending Charger game. He performed very well. MUCH better than he has at any point this season. And we lost, forcing ZERO punts in those games.

    He was very good in that system, and 2012 would have been much different under the old offensive scheme, IMO. DMC running it effectively and the recievers with less “Option” routes to screw up like they have all this year. We could at leats sustain drives last season and were always a threat to score. Even with our poor defense we weren’t going 3 and out and falling behind 21-0 like every game this season. We could compete with Palmer at QB in last year’s system. This year its just a bunch of 3 and outs until garbage time. Who cares if he technically has less INTs? I still argue that the numbers were inflated by his first 10 days in the building when he threw 6 of the 16 you are referring to. That is significant, there’s no 2 ways about it.

    We could have been the same or better than last year had we just focused on fixing the defense and left the offensive system the same.

  • romania

    Excellent reasoning. Hue’s big mouth was his undoing. Something about absolute power corrupting absolutely.