Janikowski's luck goes wide right

Oakland had a chance to stretch its lead later in the first quarter but Sebastian Janikowski missed his first three field goal attempts. Janikowski has struggled throughout the preseason and isn't making life any easier for special teams coach Bob Casullo.

The Raiders even pushed an injured player, punter Shane Lechler who is nursing a sore leg and is not available to punt, into service in an effort to cure Janikowski's woes. Lechler is Janikowski's normal holder but sat out the game against Tennessee when back-up quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo held and Janikowski missed his lone attempt.

Lechler was on the field to hold against the 49ers but it didn't seem to matter much. Janikowski missed from 36 yards in the first quarter then pushed another kick wide from 33 yards in the second quarter, his fourth straight miss of the preseason, as boos cascaded down from the Networks Associates Coliseum crowd.

Janikowski had actually made a kick from 28 yards out two plays earlier but a penalty against San Francisco for 12 men on the field convinced Callahan to allow his offense to try to punch the ball into the end zone on fourth-and-two. Quarterback Rich Gannon hit fullback Jon Ritchie with a short five-yard toss for an apparent touchdown but Tim Brown was called for offensive pass interference and the ball was moved back to the 15. That brought out Janikowski again, only this time he missed as the disgruntled crowd voiced its displeasure.

When Janikowski went out for a third attempt in the first half, this time from 43 yards out, the booing had grown to epic proportions. But the Polish kicker got a bit of respite after his kick sailed through. Janikowski turned to the crowd, his arms spread wide, as the boos turned to cheers.

''He's capable of doing much better,'' Callahan said of his kicker. ''It's to the point where we've got to make some progress and he's fully aware of that. I'm not going to deny that. Whatever kinks he has in the system, I hope he gets them out in the next two weeks.''


The Raiders have flirted with the 3-4 defense a few times in the last few seasons, and earlier in training camp the coaching staff hinted it might become a key component of the defensive package. Against the 49ers, Oakland went to the look several times in the first half with great success.

It was a primary factor in keeping San Francisco pinned against its own goal line on the 49ers first possession, which ultimately ended in a punt that Oakland's Reggie Barlow returned 57 yards for a touchdown.

While the Raiders will still primarily stick to a 4-3 alignment on its defensive line, it's safe to say the 3-4 is here to stay.

''It's just a nice change-up,'' said defensive tackle John Parrella. ''When something's not working we can use that. If you don't prepare for it, we're going to make you pay.''

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