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:
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.
D’Adamo can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com