Janikowski revels in first Pro-Bowl selection


Janikowski revels in first Pro-Bowl selection

ALAMEDA -- Raiders placekicker Sebastian Janikowski spoke to the media Thursday for the first time since being named to his first Pro Bowl on Tuesday.The 2000 first-round draft choice admitted the honor was a long-time coming."It's very sweet," he said. "I'm excited about it. If you asked me that question 10 years ago I would (have said) I'd be there five times already. I'm excited. I can't wait."It's been a long time. But good things happen to people who wait...especially (since) Shane will be there. He'll show me the ropes, I guess, and show me the footsteps."Janikowski has converted 27 of 31 field-goal attempts this season, including the record-tying 63-yarder on opening night in Denver on Sept. 12. His four misses have been from 56 and 59 yards, and his two blocked attempts have been from 49 yards and 65 yards.
"The records," he said, "deep inside I was hoping it would help me. Obviously it did."What makes his first Pro Bowl nod all the more special is joining his longtime special teams teammate Shane Lechler, who was selected for his seventh NFL all-star game. Lechler is also Janikowski's holder.Both came to the Raiders in the same draft class. And both have shattered record held by the likes of George Blanda and Ray Guy."Those are top guys so it feels good," Janikowski said. "Hopefully we can break more."And the longevity they've experienced together?"It doesn't happen at any position, especially kicker and punter," Janikowski said. "Around this league, they move around a lot. It's a special thing."I don't know how many years left we have. We're getting old. Hopefully it will be full circle and we'll get back to it."Janikowski was talking about the Super Bowl, and how they are the only players on the Raiders' roster left from the 2002 AFC title team."Guys are excited," he said. "They see the changes and they think we can (go) all the way, hopefully to the Super Bowl."We're not shocked. We knew what we had in this locker room before the season even started. We should have clinched already if you look at a couple of other games that we gave away. Guys are excited and we'll move on."

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”