Season in review: Special Teams

The Oakland Raiders special teams were spotty at times in the regular season but performed at its best in the postseason.

 

The Oakland Raiders special teams were spotty at times in the regular season but performed at its best in the postseason.

            Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski continued to be reliable in making 26-of-33 field goal attempts. He also set a career-high in touchbacks. Punter Shane Lechler missed the early part of the season with a quadriceps injury. His average dipped to a career low but that can be attributed in part to the Raiders punting from near midfield.

            The Raiders punt returner game was weakened by the loss of Phillip Buchanon, who electrified that aspect of the Raiders return game. Oakland also lost kickoff returner Terry Kirby to a broken leg but Marcus Knight turned into a reliable option.

            The coverage teams were solid at times but vulnerable at others. Special teams coach Bob Casullo, however, had a brilliant game plan in the Raiders' 30-10 AFC Divisional playoff win over the New York Jets – kick away from Chad Morton and Santana Moss.

            The only potential change from this unit could be Kirby, who the Raiders likely won't be able to afford to keep. Knight and Kirby put up similar numbers and Knight is more cost effective.

 

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

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