Should Raiders have trusted Janikowski?


Should Raiders have trusted Janikowski?

ALAMEDA -- Should he have?Could he have?As the Raiders contemplated the nuts and bolts of their final, and ultimately futile, Hail Mary play into the Ralph Wilson Stadium southern end zone on Sunday afternoon, Sebastian Janikowski was at the ready. Rather, he he was on the sideline, preparing to charge onto the field. All he needed was the word, as he looked like a fidgety thoroughbred awaiting the starting gate to lift at Golden Gate Fields.Trailing Buffalo 38-35, the Raiders were on their own 44-yard line with six seconds remaining on the clock.So, a 56-yard bomb from big-armed Jason Campbell into a mass of Raiders receivers and Bills defensive backs? Or a 73-yard field goal attempt from the strongest leg in the NFL into the crisp, 65 degree Buffalo air with a 5-mph wind blowing southeast?"I did think about," a weary coach Hue Jackson said at the postgame dais when asked if he considered trotting out Janikowski. "I thought about it. I just didn't think we were close enough. That's why he is on our team. I have total confidence in him." Just not from 73 yards, apparently.Should Jackson have sent Janikowski out there for what would have obliterated the NFL record for longest field goal had he made it?The odds say Jackson went with the safer gamble, given that Hail Mary's work every now and again, whereas no one has ever -- EVER! -- made a field goal from such an absurd distance. Forget Stickum, SeaBass and the Raiders would have needed some Flubber on the ball.Could Janikowski have made it?Well, it's already been established that the left-footed kicker has the strongest leg in the NFL. He's turned making 70-yarders in practice into a habit, a non-event, with the regularity of such kicks. He attempted an insane 76-yarder three years again in Oakland that was essentially Lane Kiffin's last thumb in the eye of Raiders owner Al Davis.And, oh yeah, Janikowski just joined Tom Dempsey and Jason Elam in the record book with his 63-yard field goal at Denver on Monday. So you know Janikowski was juiced just to try it to hold the mark all by his lonesome. There would be no real pressure, either as he would be playing with house money. Or, at least, less pressure and more house money than Campbell and receiver Denarius Moore had on the, ahem, more conventional Hail Mary.Meh, knowing Oakland's lot on this day, and their soft-as-Charmin defense in the second half, Janikowski probably would have made the kick and set the record to force overtime. Only for the Raiders to lose the coin flip and watch the Bills march straight down the field to score the game-winning points.Still, it would have been interesting to see.

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.