Skip to main content

Special Teams is Raiders' X-Factor

Kickers are usually the guy you tease; the “weakling” on the team. When they make tackles, guys nudge each other and say “That was the kicker! Bet he's happy.” Sure, everyone knows that the kicker is absolutely essential. At times the entire game rests on his shoulders. Even still, special teams is the “special” team on the field. This is absolutely not the case with the Raiders, and the entire NFL knows it.

Perusing the Raiders' longest plays in history, current Raiders like Shane Lechler, Sebastian Janikowski and Jacoby Ford hold many of the records. Janikowski in fact holds just about every field goal record ranging from 55 to 63 yards. Lechler has the longest punt at 77 yards. Jacoby Ford holds 4/6 of the longest kickoff returns, after last week. All this to say, while many teams' special teams are decent, none in the NFL compares overall to the Raiders. Some may have a key player or two, like Devin Hester, but the Raiders have special teams weapons at every turn.

Last week, Shane Lechler became the first punter since Hunter Smith in 2009 to throw for a touchdown. In the wake of Jason Campbell's injury, and Boller's implosion rusty arm, Lechler was a weapon no one saw coming. He not only threw for a touchdown, but threw in a 4th and punt situation. What team can defend against that? This isn't your grandpa's wildcat offense; what the Raiders have the weapons to create is an entirely new beast. They also have the creative, aggressive coach who can make it happen.

These are few teams who can legitimately say their special teams helped them win the game week after week. Sure, they contributed, but they weren't an actual factor. The Raiders' special team is a factor in each and every week. Let's hope Janikowski's hamstring injury is not too severe.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Oakland Raiders Swing for the Fences in 2016 NFL Draft

[embed align="center"]http://gty.im/153039819[/embed]
These aren't your daddy's Oakland Raiders or even your younger self's Raiders. If anything, these are your newborn's Raiders or your puppy's Raiders. These are the Raiders we've never seen before.

Indicative of the freshness of the franchise was their 2016 NFL Draft. No longer slave to a high draft pick and desperate needs, the theme of the draft for the Raiders was upside.

It's as if general manager Reggie McKenzie got so used to hitting his draft picks out of the park that he started swinging for the fences. We'll have to wait a couple of years before we know if he struck out or if he'll continue his Ruthian ways.

First, McKenzie boldly went with a safety at No. 14 overall. Kyle Joseph is coming off a torn ACL and fills a major need, but safety isn't a premium position. Only a handful of safeties have been drafted in the first 14 picks in the last 15 years and include names like Earl …

Final 53-Man Roster Prediction

The Oakland Raiders will trim their roster to 53 players today. Expect them to make at least two waiver claims Sunday to address needs at defensive back and on the offensive line. As such, there are a couple guys on this final roster who could be waived on Sunday and could subsequently find their way onto the team's practice squad.

As is, I've included a list of players who are candidates for the practice squad. There is some positional imbalance on the 53-man roster as I expect the Raiders to balance it out with a few waiver claims.

[table id=8 /]

The Raiders aren't who we thought they were....they're better

The Oakland Raiders are tired of being the team that will be good in a year or two. The team expects to win now and it is winning now.

We thought the Raiders needed more talent. We thought that being in the playoff hunt was a year away for this team, but we were wrong. This isn't the team we thought they were, they're better.

On Sunday, they moved to 3-3 on Sunday with a 37-29 win over the San Diego Chargers that wasn't close until the final minute. It was also the Raiders second road win of the season. The last time the Raiders had two road wins by their sixth game was 2011. Before that, a five-year streak from 1998-2002.

The Raiders went 8-8 in 1998, 1999 and 2011 and narrowly missed the playoffs each year.  They made the playoffs in 2000, 2001 and 2002. They didn't have a losing record in any of those seasons because teams that can win on the road are usually pretty good.

As the season matures, there is more and more evidence that some of the "best-case scenarios&q…