For the first time in over a month the Raiders released an injury report without the name Sebastian Janikowski appearing on it. That doesn’t mean Sebass is back at full strength. But you can count on the Raiders relying on Jano like they did early in the season.
When you look back on it you could argue that Janikowski was almost as important to the Raiders as Darren McFadden. Now I’m not trying to make an apples to apples comparison. But there is no doubt a weapon as valuable as Janikowski can influence how Hue Jackson goes about putting together his game plan.
Janikowski’s range allows for more risks to be taken by the offense knowing that once they cross midfield the worst case scenario is three points. In a close game Janikowski gives the Raiders the benefit of going a little more conservative as they know field goal range is only a few yards away.
Hopefully Janikowski trusts his leg enough to open it up a little more on Sunday. We’re so accustomed to seeing Jano boom balls out of the back of the end zone that it has been disconcerting to see him hitting kickoffs short of the ten yard line. Safe to say those big kicks will be invaluable against Devin Hester.
As Seabass told The Chronicle at lot of the injury issues relate to the mental more so than the physical.
“The injury is all mental. You’re still scared to hit it really hard.”
In order to get into the playoffs and have success the Raiders will need Jano to be right both mentally and physically. There is no doubt that when he’s healthy Janikowski is one of the best weapons in all off football.