Janikowski, Lechler, Seymour headed to Pro Bowl


Janikowski, Lechler, Seymour headed to Pro Bowl

Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski, taken with the 17th overall pick in the 2000 draft by the Raiders, has been selected to his first Pro Bowl as rosters were announced by the NFL late Tuesday afternoon. Janikowski joins his holder and teammate, punter Shane Lechler, on the AFC squad, as well as defensive tackle Richard Seymour.Both specialists won the fan vote, which counted for one-third of the selection, for their respective positions.
It is the seventh Pro Bowl selection for both Lechler and Seymour.Janikowski, the Raiders' all-time leading scorer, tied the NFL record for longest field goal when he kicked a 63-yarder at Denver in the season opener on Sept. 12.Known for having the strongest leg in the game, Janikowski has converted 27 of his 31 field-goal attempts thus far, including six of nine from at least 50 yards. Two misses came on kicks from 56 and 59 yards, at home against the New York Jets and at Kansas City, respectively, and he's had two blocked, from 49 yards at Minnesota and 65 yards at home against Detroit. Janikowski missed the Oct. 23 game against Kansas City with a hamstring strain to his left (kicking) leg and was slowed for the next month or so.Lechler, meanwhile, is leading the NFL with a 50.7-yards-per-punt average and had an 80-yard punt at home against Chicago. His 40.9 yards net average is third in the AFC. He was in the same draft class as Janikowski.Seymour, in his 11th season, has six sacks, his most as a member of the Raiders, and blocked two field goals last weekend in Kansas City.The Pro Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 29 at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium, the week before the Super Bowl. Thus, members of teams playing in Super Bowl XLVI will not play in the Pro Bowl.

Also, strong safety Tyvon Branch, defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, running back Darren McFadden and fullback Marcel Reece were all named as alternates.Pittsburgh's Troy Polomalu was the lone strong safety named while Baltimore's Haloti Ngata and New England's Vince Wilfork are the starting interior defensive linemen, with Seymour backing them up. Baltimore's Vonta Leach was the lone fullback whole Baltimore's Ray Rice, Jacksonville's Maurice Jones-Drew and Houston's Arian Foster were the three running backs named.The Pro Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 29 at Honolulu's Aloha Stadium, the week before the Super Bowl. Thus, members of teams playing in Super Bowl XLVI will not play in the Pro Bowl.

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

Cooper or Crabtree? Raiders dare opponents to pick their poison

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars tried to take Raiders receiver Amari Cooper out of Sunday’s game. Sticky corner Jalen Ramsey shadowed the second-year pro, and was effective making quarterback Derek Carr look the other way.

It wasn’t that Ramsey dominated every play. Carr simply had more favorable options available.

Michael Crabtree was the best one. He turned the Jaguars game on its ear with a touchdown catch, a third-down conversion and a massive bomb caught over his shoulder for 56 yards.

Carr targeted Crabtree 11 times in Jacksonville, with eight completions for 96 yards and a touchdown.

Teams scheming against Cooper operate at their own peril this season, because that typically leaves Crabtree in a juicy matchup.

That was the case in Week 7, but it doesn’t always work that way.

Opponents also fear Crabtree, and for good reason. He has been clutch in the season’s first half, likely playing the best football of his career.

The Kansas City Chiefs didn’t want Crabtree to have a big day in Week 6, and put top-flight cornerback Marcus Peters – who can’t keep up with Cooper’s speed – on his trail. Crabtree was largely negated in that effort, though Cooper dominated to the tune of 10 receptions for 129 yards on 13 targets. Crabtree, by far Carr’s most frequent receiver, was only thrown to four times.

Carr’s message to future opponents from those two games: pick your poison.

“You have to always be ready for everything, and I think that our staff does an amazing job of giving me a lot of options for those instances,” Carr said at the Ritz-Carlton hotel, before Wednesday's practice. “If they’re going to take away (Cooper) this game, we have to get the other guys going. If they’re going to take ‘Crab’ away, we have to get the other guys going.

“What’s great about that (position group) is they’re all good with it. We just want to win. That’s what it comes down to, how can we push the ball down the field… I think our staff does an amazing job of filling that kind of stuff out if they’re trying to take one or the other away.”

Fluctuating target counts can be frustrating for receivers, who are often considered divas demanding the football at all times. The Raiders don’t have those personalities, a luxury quarterbacks dream about.

“We’re together, man,” Crabtree said. “We’re trying to win by any means. We know what’s at stake and I feel like we’re doing everything it takes to win.”

Sometimes, that means being unselfish. Ignoring stats can be tough for wideouts, but that isn’t an issue with two top receivers under contract an extended stretch.

Cooper and Crabtree have different playing styles and personality types, yet yin and yang in this Raiders offense without issue.

“We complement each other well,” Cooper said. “Having multiple options is really great to have, especially guys that threaten defenses.”

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

Fan dies after falling while leaving Broncos game

DENVER -- Authorities say a fan has died after falling 60 feet at the Denver Broncos' stadium after a game on Monday night.

Stadium Management Co., which operates Sports Authority Field at Mile High, said the fan fell over a railing.

The medical examiner's office said Tuesday the man was transported to a hospital and pronounced dead. He was identified as 36-year-old Jason Coy.

Denver police say he was sitting on a railing when he fell. Witnesses and emergency responders immediately tried to help.

The incident occurred near the north end of the stadium following the Broncos' game against the Houston Texans.

In a statement, the Broncos said the team is "reviewing this tragic incident and will continue to maintain all necessary safety measures for our fans."