Janikowski punts for Raiders' injured Lechler

Janikowski punts for Raiders' injured Lechler


3:10 p.m. UPDATE -- Shane Lechler has since resumed punting duties for the Raiders.

OAKLAND -Raiders five-time All-Pro punter Shane Lechler was shaken up on a latesecond quarter punt and was replaced by placekicker SebastianJanikowski.

RELATED: Denver vs. Raiders
Nothing was announced in the press box but a radio report said Lechlersuffered a calf injury covering his lone punt of the first halfOn his lone punt of the first half, the left-footed Janikowskis33-yard line drive bounded off Denver returner SydQuan Thompson andwas recovered by Hiram Eugene.Lechler returned as Janikowskis holder for his game-tying 49-yard field goal with 1:07 remaining in the half. Janikowski is practicing punts on the field at the half as the Raiders and Broncos are tied 17-17.What's your take? Email Paul and let him know. He may use it in his Mailbag.

Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction


Lynch reminds media how much control he exerts over any interaction

Marshawn Lynch gave America five minutes and thirty-three seconds of his time, did not amplify on his posture during the pregame of Friday night’s game in Arizona, and dropped a “Peace, out.”

Now how much Marshawn Lynch can you get?

He talked, thereby satisfying people. He didn’t not talk about the National Anthem, the country, current events or anything remotely close to any of it, this disappointing those same people. He crossed the myth about elephants and mice with the popular Oedipal reference to make a new Marshawn Moment, which ranks up there with the tennis shoe hanging from the telephone wire retirement announcement.

And yeah, that is so much Marshawn Lynch, too.

Lynch, ultimately, interacts with the amalgamated media rabble (my ID number is #287,449/A) by reminding it how much control he exerts over any such interaction, and by giving it only his presence rather than his attention. He is phenomenally predictable that way, and it is to our shame that we keep thinking he will break the pattern out of some misplaced sense of obligation.

He is, in his own way, a recluse in full view. He insists on being the master of his surroundings in a business with many assumed masters – coaches, front office people, fans, marketers, media, even the oft-repeated myths of the game like one’s responsibilities to the greater amorphous whole. I even suspect he has the power of invisibility, like Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter or The Watcher.

In which case he should gain about 7,500 yards and score 130 touchdowns and be able to sit whenever he wants for more reasons than his own. After all, America tends to bend its willingness to accept eccentricities like his when he is helping their team entertain them successfully.

After all, we know what our true cultural priorities are.

Edwards Jr. emerges from Arizona unfazed: 'Pushed that under the rug'


Edwards Jr. emerges from Arizona unfazed: 'Pushed that under the rug'

NAPA -- Mario Edwards Jr.’s second season went south in a hurry. The Raiders defensive lineman suffered a hip injury in the 2016 preseason opener that kept him out 14 games and prevented progress after a solid rookie year.

He walked into University of Phoenix Stadium so full of hope, so ready to become a impact player on the inside. He left on crutches, with disappointment etched on his face. Edwards Jr. played thrice in 2016, but never made a real impact.

He’s expected to make one in Year 3. Edwards Jr. is back to full health, without restrictions of any kind. He’s been that way a while now, completely recovered from a hip injury that took forever to heal. He passed standard injury milestones required to overcome a major injury. He regained great shape. He tested the joint several times, and was confident it would provide explosiveness and withstand jarring hits.

One last mental hurdle was cleared Saturday night, when he returned to the crime scene. The Raiders opened this preseason against Arizona, at University of Phoenix Stadium, on the anniversary of his injury.

Flashbacks were unavoidable.

“I definitely thought about it,” he said.

It didn’t consume him. Edwards was played 22 productive snaps and emerged no worse for the wear. That, above all else, was the important thing.

“Going back to where it happened and completing the game, that was important,” Edwards said. “I thank God that I walked off the field the same way I came on it. That boosted my confidence and showed it can hold up. I was happy with that, and happy to have come out of everything just fine.”

Edwards has dealt with significant injuries throughout his career. He had a neck issue late in his rookie year, and a hip problem that stole his 2016 campaign. Edwards is thrilled to say those issues are behind him now.

“I’ve pushed that under the rug,” he said. ”I’m completely done with it. Now I’m focused on moving forward and playing faster.”

There’s no doubt the Raiders are better with Edwards on the line. General manager Reggie McKenzie said so this offseason. Edwards is a versatile, powerful, athletic player capable of playing most every technique from inside out. He played everywhere as a rookie, from stand-up edge rusher to nose tackle.

He’ll be a roving chess piece again this year, Edwards should play end in the base defense, often with Bruce Irvin on his flank. He’ll slide inside to provide a pass rush in a sub packages. Good push from Edwards, Denico Autry, Jihad Ward and Eddie Vanderdoes is vital, especially after struggling to create pressure in years past. Head coach Jack Del Rio said last season’s effort wasn’t good enough. His players heard that, and are hell-bent on showing better.

“We take what people said about last year’s interior push as a challenge,” Edwards said. “We know we’ll be better, and we’re out to prove that the Raiders interior defensive is pretty good.”