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Lechler looking toward the future, uncertain what it holds

By Steve Corkran
Monday, December 10th, 2012 at 2:45 pm in Oakland Raiders.

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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  • raidertalk

    Part of the problem was that last year we had what 5 pics. This year we will have at least 6 and a first rounder. These picks will be critical, But then again nobody really remembers the 6-7th rounder

  • RaiderSam

    That leg looked like some body ripped a sock out of a dryer.

    and thats AFTER an ACL and a hip injury.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywemwRy2PXM

  • RaiderSam

    Raidertalk Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 2:41 am
    Part of the problem was that last year we had what 5 pics. This year we will have at least 6 and a first rounder. These picks will be critical, But then again nobody really remembers the 6-7th rounder

    ========

    sure remember Marques Colston (7th rounder) and Courtland Finnegan (also 7th)

  • raidertalk

    RaiderSam Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 2:40 am
    Raidertalk Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 2:36 am
    Lattimore eh? Don’t know what round probably late. Problem is we would have to sit him for a while let him heal; maybe a year like Bush. Then we would have a year less of his services before he departs in free agency.
    Although we definitely use an RB and he was great before his injury, its kinda hard to push for a “project” when our team has so many pressing needs in many areas.

    ==========

    Lattimore will be lucky to play in a softball game. Did you see that freaking injury?!

    DONE, Son.
    ——————————————————
    THat injury was NASTY. But how big of balls do the dude have to keep at it after that? I give him credit for courage at least.

  • oklahomaRaider18

    I thought the same thing was said about Willis Mcgahee??? look at him…he’s been a serviceable back.

  • RaiderSam

    how explosive was this team….?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLVqJ2G4EEs

  • RaiderSam

    OklahomaRaider18 Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 2:46 am
    I thought the same thing was said about Willis Mcgahee??? look at him…he’s been a serviceable back.

    ========

    Yeah. Same thing said about Frank Gore as well. You never know. Maybe they take a flier on him. Tyrann Mathieu..a number of players…they have to get some personnel and gamble a little late. I wouldnt be opposed to it.

  • RaiderSam

    Where have these Raiders gone?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBW9QvwF8fU

  • dr_robert

    RaiderSam Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 3:03 am
    Where have these Raiders gone?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBW9QvwF8fU

    *************

    man, those guys looked great. what happened?

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  • RaiderSam

    Dr_robert Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 3:12 am
    RaiderSam Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 3:03 am
    Where have these Raiders gone?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBW9QvwF8fU

    *************

    man, those guys looked great. what happened?

    =======

    Greg Knapp, and some untimely injuries. Ford, in particular. Denarius Moore looked good as a returner…. all that speed, just wasted – Moore, Bey, McFadden, Reece. Maybe the ZBS needs a downfield runner that can patiently set up blocks…what if Bush stayed?

    we’ll never know.

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  • oklahomaRaider18

    I want Manti Teo with our first pick!!

  • Plunketthead

    http://football.fantasysports.yahoo.com/bowl/register/joingroup

    Sign up for bowl game pick em contest
    I fixed the sign up problem

    group id# 14891
    password aldavis

  • Plunketthead

    That’s a trip reading everyones opinion of what was wrong or right about the team, what went wrong and what to do now

    Bottom line = Al had us headed in the right direction. He passed and the franchise hit bottom.

    Nobody would be able to run it Als way or clean up after him so we have to be patient and hope Reggie is capable. No GM has ever entered a season like this and it is easy for all the Monday morning qbs to tell him what he is doing wrong.

    I am on his side but I am not on Meddlesome Marks side.
    I think he is the milkmans son and that milkman was Charlie brown

  • Plunketthead

    Stay away from manti, get star or trade down if possible. I am almost always in favor of trading down, every year.

    Not this year. Star can anchor our D for the next ten years. Put an end to teams running on us for the most part.

    I like him and maybe that center from Alabama. I am sure others will look good after draft camp

  • RaiderSam

    Plunketthead Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 3:47 am
    Stay away from manti, get star or trade down if possible. I am almost always in favor of trading down, every year.

    Not this year. Star can anchor our D for the next ten years. Put an end to teams running on us for the most part.

    I like him and maybe that center from Alabama. I am sure others will look good after draft camp

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

    keep the pick, and strengthen both sides of the line – DL – Star L.
    OL – Chance Warmack, if he’s available.

    DL and OL

    and go free agency for a pass rusher? Connor Barwin? Since D.A . is fashioning this lineup like the Texans (which I wouldnt brag about…even we didnt get blown out that bad v. the Pats at home)

  • oklahomaRaider18

    When do we sign Reggie Smith??? Good football player, versatile, returns kicks, special teams….he’s gotta be better than Matt”outta place”Girlidano….

  • RaiderRockstar

    Al Davis wanted Sean Payton & Ken Whizensunt for HC a few years ago. expressed regret over firing Norv Turner too quickly

    all 3 HC’s will be available this offseason. Makes me wonder if Mark Davis wont bite, or all least sniff

  • RaiderRockstar

    Rich Gannon’s franchise record of 4,689 yards was set in 2002.

    Palmer has 3,805 yards in 13 games.

    So Palmer needs 885 passing yards in the last 3 games (avg = 295 per game)

    Anybody think he’ll get it ??

  • RaiderRockstar

    Look fellas… We all want the #1 draft pick (especially with the new rookie cap) , but nothing would please me more than to beat KC this week

    I live in Missouri and am surrounded by Chief fans. to sweep them during our pathetic season actually still gives me bragging rights :)

    Oakland 13
    Kansas Pity 10

  • Plunketthead

    Sam Reg has said he plans on getting some FA and cork said he will have plenty of money under the cap next year so I expect some big signings

  • RaiderRockstar

    Plunk,

    BigMac is going to dump half the roster and half the coaching staff. It’s necessary to win and keep his own job

  • Plunketthead

    He wont get it. TP will see some playing time and the run game will be more involved

  • Plunketthead

    I agree about the roster but I doubt he will let DA go. But I don’t have a clue.

    If Reg does it I am OK with it. I just hate to see Mark get involved. That will be the end of the franchise under him

  • Plunketthead

    I actually think we will beat KC and beat them good.
    Raiders 31
    river skunks 12

  • RaiderRockstar

    Plunk,

    I wasn’t talking about Dennis Allen. I think Knapp, Tarver & Hoffman are gone.

    As well as a few asst coaches like DeFilippo & Pollack and a few defensive coaches

  • Plunketthead
  • RaiderRockstar

    Plunk,

    Palmer will put himself in position to break the record.

    scenario:
    He will only need 10 yards. 4th quarter with 12 secs left in the final game. throws a 12 yard pass.

    pick six. loses the game. comes up just short on the record as well

  • oklahomaRaider18

    I see McFadden having a huge game on Sunday, he always comes strapped up to play!!! Raiders 24-Queefs13, LaceUp!!!

  • oklahomaRaider18

    Anybody know if we can get ole Stevie Brown back?? Maybe switch Tyvon Branch to FS???

  • oklahomaRaider18

    I think we need to have Mike Mitchell add about 15lbs n move him to OLB, dude would straight up ball. He needs to be playing every down, especially 3rd downs covering Tight Ends.

  • RaiderRockstar

    OK,

    Tyvon Branch sucks. trade him or cut him

    3 biggest bonehead moves by Reggie

    #1 pay Seymour $15 million
    #2 franchise Branch, followed by long term deal
    #3 Mike Brisiel (OL)

  • ddwight

    RaiderRockstar Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 4:14 am
    Rich Gannon’s franchise record of 4,689 yards was set in 2002.

    Palmer has 3,805 yards in 13 games.

    So Palmer needs 885 passing yards in the last 3 games (avg = 295 per game)

    Anybody think he’ll get it ??

    —————————————————————–

    I mean how can you care about that, when as long as Palmer is our QB, it shows that we going nowhere fast…we better be concerned about who’s our Head Coach & QB for next year, because as I have predicted, Palmer is washed up. Gaurantee if Gruden gets the job, Palmer will not be our QB…Gauranteed!

  • RaidingTexas

    RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit Says:

    Oakland Raiders News‏@RaiderNewsFlash

    Report: some players are disgusted that the Raiders would even reinstate Ronaldo after what he said on Facebook.

    ——————————————–

    That’s not a legitimate Raiders news twitter account. I followed it for awhile, but you can tell it’s just some fool (probably some commenter from here) posting crap he heard from the other Raiders media.

    And anyway, the CBA requires the Raiders to handle the matter in a certain way to have a better chance at voiding Rolando’s guaranteed money.

  • RaidingTexas

    Dakota Says:

    I pointed you to that post to show that I took back my Tarkenton comment. He was not a running QB.

    And I have pointed to Cunningham as one of the few run orientated QBs to make a career into his mid to late 30s….which is my point, these QBs are not going to last much past 32 years old. They are being asked to take the beating of a QB and of a backup RB.

    If they can adapt and become great pocket passing QBs then maybe they will have a chance to have long careers.

    Only time will tell.

    ————————————–

    Should we add Tom Brady as a run-oriented QB?

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/11/tom-brady-im-no-rg3-but-i-can-run-for-a-first-down/

    LOL

  • ddwight

    oklahomaRaider18 Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 4:40 am
    Anybody know if we can get ole Stevie Brown back?? Maybe switch Tyvon Branch to FS???

    —————————————————————

    Yeah! How About that huh? We might as well get Kevin Boothe back as well because he’s been starting at left-gaurd for the Giants the last 2-seasons. And lets not forget Chris Clemons who is starting for the Seahawks Defense at Right Def-End.

  • Plunketthead

    and trevor scot and mcquistan

  • mikeschoice

    MisMistic

    I’m physic. Did you see that pop rg3 took. It s going to be a weekly thing with his injury report

  • DIRT-LOT FOOTBALL

    DONT CARE IF PALMER THROWS FOR 6K YARDS THIS YEAR..JUST WIN BABY.

  • bcz24

    938.RaidingTexas Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 5:47 am
    RaidersAllday_LtsGeTit Says:

    Oakland Raiders News‏@RaiderNewsFlash

    Report: some players are disgusted that the Raiders would even reinstate Ronaldo after what he said on Facebook.

    ——————————————–

    That’s not a legitimate Raiders news twitter account. I followed it for awhile, but you can tell it’s just some fool (probably some commenter from here) posting crap he heard from the other Raiders media.

    And anyway, the CBA requires the Raiders to handle the matter in a certain way to have a better chance at voiding Rolando’s guaranteed money.
    ***************
    Yeah I checked out that twitter account, there are tweets about things like firing reggie and the like. No real media source would ever say things like that. It definitely looks like it is run by one of the trolls from here.

    You are also correct about reinstating Slo to the roster, they HAD to. He still wasn’t allowed to rejoin the team on the practice field, and I have no doubt that he will NOT be allowed to going forward.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    sundays is gonna svck again….last sunday was pretty stress free lol…

  • ReggieknowsDAhastogo

    Not to be the grammar nazi but it’s PSYCHIC.

  • RaidingTexas

    Al_is_theraiders Says:

    sundays is gonna svck again….last sunday was pretty stress free lol…

    —————————————-

    Only three more to get through.

  • Al_is_theraiders

    man are the texaints the ultimate choke artists or what?

  • bcz24

    Sad to say, but NE looks like they are in a league of their own again. If they hammer SF this Sunday the way they did Hou, I would have to say they are BIG favorites for another Lombardi.

  • jesusraiderjim

    Anyone notice that nobody on the Texans was yucking it up while getting their ass handed to them?

    Why do we think its funny.

    Those teams are worlds apart from our joke of a team.

    keep the EXCUSES to yourself I got em all memorized, just sayin

  • Al_is_theraiders

    i love seeing the texaints and pubiak getting beat down…serves that ex domkey right…oh wait DA is an ex donkey….we svck again!

  • Marks hair

    I wish we sucked when Cam Newton or Andrew Luck were the top players in their drafts…

  • ddwight

    jesusraiderjim Says:
    December 11th, 2012 at 7:09 am
    Anyone notice that nobody on the Texans was yucking it up while getting their ass handed to them?

    Why do we think its funny.

    Those teams are worlds apart from our joke of a team.

    keep the EXCUSES to yourself I got em all memorized, just sayin

    ——————————————————————–

    Another reason why DA gotta go, obviously everytime we get shellacked he likes chummying it up with the opposition, how about just a regular handshake and move on? Did anybody get the message to him that he is employed by the Oakland Raiders (Remember with John Fox)? whats with this guy??!!