Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

October 19, 2008
Judging a kicker's value

OAKLAND - Many still look at the 2000 NFL Draft and say the Raiders could have used their first-round pick on running back Shaun Alexander. How about quarterback Chad Pennington?

Maybe even linebacker Keith Bullock?

The Raiders, of course, drafted kicker Sebastian Janikowski.

There's nothing SeaBass could ever do to justify being drafted in the first round. There are plenty of good kickers that are selected in the later rounds or found as free agents.

But if a kicker is worth a first-round pick, a 57-yard field goal to win a game should be expected.

Janikowski finally made the kind of field goal that made him a first-round pick in the Raiders' 16-13 overtime win over the New York Jets.

It wasn't the first time he's won a game with his foot. But it was the first time he ended a game with a kick from a distance that would merit a team taking a kicker in the first round.

I was on the field for the kick and it looked as if it would have been good from at least 60 yards.

And that's what he was drafted to do, be a threat to win a game once the Raiders cross midfield.

*It was another boring day for Nnamdi Asomugha.

The Raiders tried putting Asoumgha on slot receivers today in an attempt to dare New York Jets quarterback Brett Favre to throw at him.

It still didn't happen, much to Asomugha's disappointment.

Credit the Raiders' with trying to find ways to keep the Jets off balance by forcing Favre to find Asomugha.

Favre found Asomugha and did what he could to avoid him.

*Michael Bush didn't play at all. Coach Tom Cable said the flow of the game just didn't allow Bush to get in at running back.

*The Raiders were still bad on third downs, converting only 4 of 17.

*Justin Fargas averaged only 2.6 yards a carry against the NFL's third-ranked run defense. He ran 28 times for 74 yards.

*Cable took the blame for the Raiders' 14 penalties, which included lining up in the neutral zone four times.

The Raiders had nine penalties at halftime.

"Yeah, that's my fault," Cable said. "I wanted them juiced and ready to rip someone's lips off. That's what it was. So that's on me. At the same time, we've gotta have better attention to that detail and all that. But I'll look more at that tomorrow, to be quite honest with you. Right now I'm enjoying being 1-0."

*Neither team put a running back at the quarterback position. The Raiders figured to be the team more likely to do that given their struggles on offense lately, but Darren McFadden stayed at running back the entire game.

*Most of the defensive players were proud of themselves for forcing three punts in overtime. The unit allowed the Jets to get in position to tie the game late, but bounced back in overtime, which it hasn't always done.

*Michael Huff couldn't have asked for an easier interception than the duck that hit him in the gut. That would have put the Raiders in line for a much shorter kick Janikowski.

The team used Hiram Eugene in its base defense and Huff played in nickel and dime packages. Eugene made four tackles on plays Huff might have missed.

*Javon Walker said nothing "clicked" between JaMarcus Russell and himself. He said the team finally just decided to throw him the ball. He had five catches all season before grabbing five balls for 75 yards and a touchdown, his first since the 2006 season.

*Tommy Kelly was credited with his first sack of the season. The team believes he can be a player that could get 10 in a season. He's got some work to do to get to that point.

*Trevor Scott's two-sack day means the Raiders might have three good rushers off the edge. When Derrick Burgess returns, it would mean less work for him and Kalimba Edwards and keep them fresh for late-game situations.

*When team captains were announced, DTs Kelly, Gerard Warren and Terdell Sands went out, even though they don't have the "C" on their jerseys.

--Jason Jones

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About Raiders Blog and Q&A

Matt Kawahara was born in Sacramento and attended McClatchy High School and UC Berkeley, where he wrote for the independent student paper The Daily Californian. He graduated from Cal in 2010 and started at The Sacramento Bee as a summer intern. He joined The Bee's sports staff in fall 2011.

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