Raiders Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Oakland Raiders

March 9, 2009
Special goals

Isaiah Ekejiuba is gunning for San Diego gunner Kasim Osgood and looking to run down Brendon Ayenbadejo for the title of best special teamer in the AFC.

"It's all a competition in this league," Ekejiuba said. "You want to be the best and there are a couple of guys up there right now. You have to shoot for the best if that's what you aim to be."

Ekejiuba was a Pro Bowl alternate after the 2008 season and was rewarded with a new deal that makes him one of the better paid special teams players in the NFL.

Ekejiuba has been important to special teams, especially the last two seasons.

When he was injured at the end of the 2007 preseason, he still made the team even though he'd miss the first four games of the season because of his play in the kicking game.

Ekejiuba was an unrestricted free agent, but his intention was always to return to Oakland.

The Raiders special teams were among the best in the NFL last year and the Raiders also retained the likes of All-Pro punter Shane Lechler.

"I liked the way we finished the season," Ekejiuba said. "As things went along I saw some of the guys that were coming back, that made me want to come back. I'd worked with those guys and believed in them."

One key person not back is special teams coach Brian Schneider. But Ekejiuba is confident the transition to Schneider's assistant, John Fassel, will be fine.

"Coach Fassel and Coach Schneider were so close and working with both of them so closely last year just helps me have a better feeling for Fassel and what he expects from us," Ekejiuba said. "So I think that one year under our belts is going to help us do things better and progress from where we were last year."

UPDATE: In more news about special teams, Aaron Pelch will join the Raiders coaching staff as assistant special teams coach.
You can read more about Pelch here.

Chris Morgan is also the new assistant offensive line coach. Here is Morgan's bio.

Morgan played for Tom Cable at Colorado when Cable was offensive line coach there.
--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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