Season review: Raiders specialists

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Season review: Raiders specialists

Oakland's specialists -- specifically placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, punter Shane Lechler and long snapper Jon Condo -- were the Raiders' one constant this past season. Not only were they they most valuable players on the team, they were the most dangerous at their positions in the AFC, if not the most dependable in the NFL.
Grade: A-SPECIALISTSSebastian Janikowski -- Has it really been 11 years since so much ridicule was heaped upon Al Davis and the Raiders for taking a wild-child placekicker with a first-round draft pick? Things could not have gone more swimmingly for the man known as 'SeaBass' in his 12th NFL season. Two years into the four-year, 16-million contract, with 9 million guaranteed, that made him the highest-paid kicker in the history of the game, Janikowski had perhaps his finest season and was rewarded with his first Pro Bowl invite. It all began on opening night in Denver, when he ended the first half by tying the NFL record for longest field goal with his 63-yarder. And it continued throughout, even as a strained left hamstring slowed him and forced him to miss a game for the first time since 2001. Janikowski's 129 points were the second-most of his career and the 10 field goals he attempted from at least 50 yards led the league. He was 31-of 35 on his field-goal attempts, with all four misses coming from beyond 40 yards. Two of the four were blocked, including a 65-yard attempt against Detroit. Janikowski has long been known as having the strongest leg in the game -- the Raiders are in scoring position seemingly once they cross midfield -- but now his accuracy from distance is being recognized as well. His 88.6 percent conversion rate on field goals was the third-highest of his career. And while he started off booming kickoffs out of the end zone with regularity, his strained hamstring slowed that roll.Shane Lechler -- Janikowski's draft classmate -- Lechler was taken in the fifth round in 2000 -- has long been seen as one of the top punters in NFL history. And his booming punts continued throughout his 12th season. He had a 77-yard punt to tie a franchise record on opening night in Denver. Then, he went right after Chicago's Devin Hester 10 games later and dropped an 80-yard punt on him. In between, Lechler, who is also Janikowski's holder, threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Boss on a fake field goal against Cleveland. Lechler's 50.8-yards per punt average was the second-highest of his career, behind his 51.1 average in 2009, and it was second in the league to the 49ers' Andy Lee, who finished with a 50.9 average. And while Lechler's 40.9 net average was only fifth in the league, it was hurt because he sometimes out-punted his coverage; two of his punts were returned for TDs, a 90-yarder by Denver's Eric Decker in the opener and an 85-yarder by Eddie Royal in the return game. Lechler, who will be entering the final season of his four-year, 16-million deal, with 9 million guaranteed, may have been edged out by Lee for All-Pro, but he was invited to his seventh Pro Bowl.Jon Condo -- The unsung hero of the specialists. Nothing happens without the long snapper making it happen, right? And with both Janikowski and Lechler headed to Honolulu, Condo should get invited to the NFL's all-star game as well, no? Well, he's already made one Pro Bowl game, two years ago, but no one would complain if he got a return call. His perfectly-placed snaps enabled Janikowski to tie the mark for longest field goal and for Lechler's franchise-record 80-yard punt. Plus, Condo is often one of the first down on punt coverage. Really, only one of his snaps seemed off this season, and that was the high one against Detroit, when Janikowski lined up to attempt a game-winning 65-yard field goal that was blocked. Other than that, he makes the kickers look good, and vice-versa.

Oakland, Alameda County to vote on possible Raiders stadium term sheet next week

Oakland, Alameda County to vote on possible Raiders stadium term sheet next week

The Oakland City Council and Alameda County Supervisors will soon hold a public hearing and vote on a term sheet for a stadium proposal designed to keep the Raiders in Oakland, the City of Oakland announced on Friday afternoon.

These actions will occur on Dec. 13, as local authorities attempt to expedite a stadium plan that will prevent the Raiders from being approved to relocate to the Las Vegas market.

Oakland and Alameda County have paired with Fortress Investment Group to create a stadium funding plan that does not include taxpayer dollars. The public will contribute to infrastructure improvements, but stadium construction will come from private sources.

The private investment group is fronted by former NFL players Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete.

Details of this stadium framework were released by the city of Oakland on Friday afternoon. 

The term sheet calls for 105 acres of Coliseum site land for a 55,000-seat football stadium and 7,000 parking spaces, with another 15 acres reserved for an Athletics ballpark. If all goes according to plan, the term sheet set a target date for the stadium to be ready by the 2021-22 season. The plan also accounts for  mixed use areas on the site that could be used for ancillary development. 

The financial framework calls $200 million in public funds, generated through private and public bonds, would be used for infrastructure improvements. The Coliseum site land was valued at $150 million, and would be transferred to the Lott group. It is uncertain how the public will recoup that land value. 

The Lott Group would invest $400 million dollars, and the Raiders and the NFL would put in $500 million combined, with $200 million from the league's stadium loan program. The Raiders could also raise funds from the sale of personal seat lisences, a common funding tool used in new stadiums throughout the league. 

The stadium project plus infrastructure improvements is estimated at $1.3 billion. The Lott Group would be responsible for financial overruns. 

City and county votes are the next step in creating a plan enticing enough to the NFL that it would pump the brakes on allowing the Raiders to move to Las Vegas.

That is Raiders owner Mark Davis’ stated desire. He has not negotiated with local public officials in some time, pouring focus into a Las Vegas stadium plan that has already received $750 million in public subsidy to construct if the Raiders are given the green light to move.

There are several complications associated with this deal, most notably that Davis wants no part in it. The NFL is reportedly intrigued by Oakland’s market potential, and generally prefers that teams remain in their home markets.

Oakland and Alameda County will vote on whether to continue working on this term sheet and present it to the NFL. The league meets on Wednesday to discuss relocation, and East Bay officials want to show they have a viable alternative to keep the Raiders in Oakland. 

 

Raiders snap count: Nate Allen plays every defensive down

Raiders snap count: Nate Allen plays every defensive down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Raiders left guard Kelechi Osemele spent Thursday morning in a Kansas City hospital with an undisclosed illness, and was unfit to play that night against Kansas City.

That was a big blow to the Silver and Black, who played a pivotal game against the Chiefs without their tone-setter up front.

The Raiders have depth along the offensive line, giving position coach Mike Tice options to fill Osemele’s spot. He took an unconventional route, having rookie Vadal Alexander take most of the snaps for Osemele.

Alexander, who has played tackle as a professional but spent most of his collegiate career at guard, took 66 snaps at left guard. That information comes from the official NFL game book.

Jon Feliciano, typically the first guard off the bench, rotated series with Alexander early on. That apparently stopped as the game progressed, with Feliciano taking just nine offensive snaps.

Alexander allowed four quarterback pressures including a hit on Derek Carr.

Safety Nate Allen played all 55 defensive snaps at strong safety for Karl Joseph, who missed Thursday’s game with a toe injury.

Denico Autry and Dan Williams also saw more action with Darius Latham and Stacy McGee out with ankle injuries.

The Raiders played out of the shotgun and pistol formations to protect Carr’s ailing right pinky, which generally kept a third receiver on the field. Seth Roberts played 71 snaps on Thursday, and didn’t do much with them. He had just two catches for 12 yards on nine targets. He also had two drops.

Let’s take a look at the entire Raiders snap count:

OFFENSE
75 – OL Donald Penn, OL Austin Howard, OL Gabe Jackson, QB Derek Carr, OL Rodney Hudson
74 – WR Amari Cooper
71 – WR Seth Roberts
66 – OL Vadal Aleander
63 – WR Michael Crabtree
52 – RB Latavius Murray
44 – TE Clive Walford
23 – TE Mychal Rivera
18 – RB Jalen Richard
12 – WR Andre Holmes
9 – OL Jon Feliciano, OL Menelik Watson
7 – FB Jamize Olawale
2 – RB DeAndre Washington

DEFENSE
55 – S Nate Allen, LB Perry Riley, CB Sean Smith, S Reggie Nelson, LB Malcolm Smith, CB David Amerson
52 – DE Khalil Mack
48 – DL Denico Autry, LB Bruce Irvin
25 – DT Dan WIlliams
23 – CB TJ Carrie
15 – DT Justin Ellis
10 – DE James Cowser
6 – DL Branden Jackson

SPECIAL TEAMS
25 – Daren Bates
21 – Keith McGIll
19 – Andre Holmes, Jamize Olawale, Brenden Trawick, Cory James
18 – Taiwan Jones
15 – Nate Allen
13 – James Cowser, Marquette King, Jon Condo
11 – TJ Carrie
10 – Branden Jackson
8 – Sebastian Janikowski, Dexter McDonald
6 – Khalil Mack, Denico Autry, Bruce Irvin, Dan Williams, Justin Ellis, Tyrell Adams
5 – Jalen Richard
4 – Donald Penn, Austin Howard, Gabe Jackson, Vadal Alexander, Clive Walford, Mychal Rivera, Menelik Watson, DeAndre Washington
NOTE: Snap counts taken from official NFL game book