Raiders training camp outlook: kicker & punter

Raiders training camp outlook: kicker & punter

         One story in a series, looking at position breakdowns for the Oakland Raiders, who arrive for training camp in Napa, CA, on July 24. Today – a look at cornerback:

         Normally you look at positions in terms of battling for a starting spot.

For the Oakland Raiders, that position does not include kicker or punter as Sebastian Janikowski (kicker) and Shane Lechler (punter) are firmly entrenched at those positions.

Many people scoffed when Oakland took the left-footed kicking Janikowski with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 draft. Janikowski has rebounded from a shaky rookie campaign to putting together consecutive stellar seasons.

Janikowski connected on 26-of-33 field goal attempts but most importantly provided Oakland with a crucial advantage in terms of field position, an area he fell short of expectations in his first two seasons. Janikowski led the league in touchbacks last year with 22 after combining for 26 his first two seasons.

Most punters would love the type of season Lechler had in averaging 42.5 yards per boot. Those numbers, however, are down by the lofty standards Lechler set his first two seasons when he averaged 45.9 and 46.2 yards per punt. Lechler was hampered by a quad injury that caused him to miss the first two games of the season. Lechler's decline in numbers, however, can at least be partially attributed to then potency of the Raider offense, thus limiting his chances to punt.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached via e-mail at vdad7@yahoo.com

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