Punter Kevin Stempke's performance continues to put the Oakland Raiders in a position to where they do not need to rush two time Pro Bowler Shane Lechler back into action.
Lechler is still listed on the injury report as questionable for Sunday night's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Lechler is still hampered by a quadriceps injury he sustained in training camp. The Raiders hoped to have Lechler ready by the regular season opener against Seattle, who Oakland beat 31-17, but his injury is still not healed sufficiently enough to warrant a return to the lineup.
The Raiders kept both Stempke and Lechler when making the final cuts. Stempke had a 50.5 gross average and 48.5 net in two punts against Seattle. In a best-case scenario, Lechler will be able to punt against Pittsburgh. The Raiders follow that contest with an open date before returning with a home game against Tennessee.
"If I pushed myself, I could probably handle it this week," Lechler said. "I'm still not 100 percent but I could probably go out and average 42 yards but that's my standard."
Lechler has averaged 46.1 gross and 40.4 net in his first two NFL seasons. Lechler did some punting Wednesday but added that how he feels after Thursday's practice could be a more definitive barometer in terms of whether or not the Raiders activate him Sunday.
"It's just a real tight feeling right now," Lechler said. "I don't have any problem with the strength part of it but it's just a matter of when you go in a fast motion."
The Raiders do not need to rush Lechler if Stempke keeps performing well. The latter continues to bolster his cause to hook on with another team once Lechler returns.
"If he doesn't get a job the rest of the league is crazy," Lechler said. "He's doing a great job."