Raiders snubbed from 2013 Pro Bowl

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Raiders snubbed from 2013 Pro Bowl

ALAMEDA -- For the first time since 2003, the Raiders were shut out of Pro Bowl representation as the NFL's all-star teams were announced Wednesday.

The Raiders (4-11) were one of eight teams to not have a Pro Bowl player, along with St. Louis (7-7-1), Philadelphia (4-11), Carolina (6-9), Jacksonville (2-12), Tennessee (5-10), San Diego (6-9) and Buffalo (5-10).

Kansas City (2-12) is in line to finish with the league's worst record and secure the No. 1 overall pick in the April draft, but still had five Pro Bowlers named.

Perhaps the biggest snub, though, was placekicker Sebastian Janikowski being left off the list and named only as an alternate, though the Raiders would not release what level of alternate he was for the game. Janikowski won the fan vote of the selection process -- coaches and players vote for the other two-thirds of the decision.

Cleveland's Phil Dawson was named the AFC's placekicker and since the Browns will not be playing in the Super Bowl, the only chance for Janikowski to book his trip to Hawaii for the Jan. 27 exhibition would seemingly be for Dawson, a first-time selection, to beg out.

Also, Raiders fullback Marcel Reece was named an alternate, though the level is not known. Baltimore's Vonta Leach is the AFC starter, though the position would open up should the Ravens advance to the Super Bowl.

It is also the first time since 2006 that punter Shane Lechler was not named to the Pro Bowl.

Janikowski, though, was the AFC's special teams player of the months for October and the AFC's special teams player of the week after kicking five field goals in the Raiders' 15-0 defeat of Kansas City on Dec. 16.

He is 31 for 34 on the season, with his three misses coming from 61, 64 and 51 yards, and Janikowski this season has moved into a tie with John Kasay for second place in NFL history for most career field goals of at least 50 yards, with 42 such kicks. Detroit's Jason Hanson, who is in his 21st NFL season and was a rookie in the waning days of the George H. W. Bush Administration, is the all-time leader with 52 field goals of 50-plus yards.

Janikowski has converted 53 in a row from 40 yards or less, last missing inside that marker on Sept. 26, 2010, at Arizona. Plus, on kicks of 40 or more yards, he has converted 19 of his last 24 attempts, missing from 51, 59, 61, 64 and 65 yards.

Janikowski's 57-yarder at the end of the first half on Dec. 16 set a league long for the season, and he co-holds the NFL record of 63 yards, set at Denver in the 2011 season opener.

He has also made 125 straight point-after attempts, last missing on Dec. 14, 2008, against New England.

Dawson, meanwhile, has made 28 of 29 attempts this season, his lone miss a 28-yard attempt that was blocked by the Raiders' Desmond Bryant on Dec. 2.

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

Relocation approval 'offers more clarity' when Raiders recruit future free agents

PHOENIX -- The Raiders are entering a limbo period, with just a few seasons in Oakland before relocating to Las Vegas. NFL owners formally approved a move on Monday, though the Raiders don’t want to leave the East Bay until a new stadium is ready in 2020.

While there are contingencies to leave the market early based upon how fans react to the Raiders remaining in Oakland after committing to Las Vegas, that isn’t what the Raiders want. After years of stadium uncertainty, they leave the NFL owners meetings with clarity regarding their long-term future.

General manager Reggie McKenzie believes that should help free agents considering silver and black. The uncertainty prompted questions in recent years that McKenzie can answer when recruiting veteran talent now that relocation has been approved.

“By Mark saying that the plan is for us to be in Oakland for two more years (at least), but we will be in Vegas, I think it offers more clarity,” McKenzie said. “It lets the players know. It’s better than two months ago, when everyone had questions. When you were talking to a free agent, they know we want to move but weren’t sure if it was going to pass. They didn’t know. Now they know a decision has been made by the league to let us move.”

That will help McKenzie more in the future than present. Roster turnover is high these days, meaning most currently employed by the Raiders won’t play for the home team in Las Vegas. Only David Amerson, Kelechi Osemele and Marquette King are would be under contract when the team wants to move.

The Raiders are working on extensions for Derek Carr, Gabe Jackson and Khalil Mack, with others possibly locked up down the line.

In addition to playing with Carr and Mack and for head coach Jack Del Rio, there’s another attraction to signing with the Raiders. There’s no state income tax in Nevada, meaning a contract there is worth more than the same deal in California. The Golden State generally takes 13.3 percent of significant income earned there.

There will be other issues about playing in Las Vegas, where gambling is legal, a drink can be had 24 hours per day and vices abound in a place called Sin City.

The Raiders will construct a support system to keep players focused, and are ready to handle any questions players and their families may have about an upcoming move.

“Now there are questions from the drafted guys about when they become free agents, because they might be in Vegas. That’s going to be different. There are questions that way, but it’s not going to alter the way we go after players. Some of the guys, parents and agents may have questions, but I don’t think it’s anything out of whack.”

 

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

NFL centralizes replay reviews, Del Rio wants more freedom in challenges

PHOENIX – Fans won’t see special teams players leaping over the long snapper in an attempt to block a field goal or extra point. Seattle’s Kam Chancellor made some big plays with that technique, but won’t have the chance anymore.

The NFL outlawed that option on Tuesday as one several rule changes enacted at the league meetings.

“There are some safety concerns,” Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio said. “that are legitimate.”

The NFL also centralized replay reviews, taking that power away from officials on the field. NFL head of officiating Dean Blandino and associates at the NFL’s command center will handle reviews in an effort to add consistency to important calls.

Del Rio hoped replay challenges would be expanded further, but a proposal by Seattle and Buffalo allowing coaches to challenge any play save scoring plays and turnovers, which are automatically reviewed, did not pass.

“I think there are a number of coaches who feel like, if there’s an obvious error, we should have a mechanism to correct it,” Del Rio said. “We catch most of them, so you’re talking about a small percentage. It’s hard to move the needle for such a small percentage. That’s the problem. The fact is, if it’s important enough that we’re willing to use that challenge, we’d like that right and ability. Things happen, and you don’t want to lose a big game, a game that decides whether you advance in the playoffs or make the playoffs and it’s something you could overturn, that you could challenge or change. Why not?”

Here's a list of new rules and bylaws adopted by the league on Tuesday.