Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

Raiders Roster Review: Shane Lechler

In the history of football only one man is even worth mentioning in the same paragraph as Shane Lechler. Unfortunately for Super Shane his legacy seems forever linked to Ray Guy as both men will no doubt find themselves consoling one another each year the Hall of Fame vote opens up.

Such is the life of an NFL punter. Until you get to see a stud like Lechler do his thing every Sunday it is hard to appreciate the position.

Statistically Lechler is the greatest punter in NFL history. The last three seasons have only solidified that the argument for greatest punter ever is an all silver and black conversation.

In 2011 Lechler averaged an astounding 50.8 yards per punt, the second time in three years he’s eclipsed the 50-yard barrier. That helped the Raiders in their special team takeover of the Pro Bowl with Lechler, Sebastian Janikowski and long snapper Jon Condo all earning a Hawaiian vacation. That was the good news for the 7-time Pro Bowler and 6-time All-Pro punter.

The bad news was that two of Lechler’s kicks were returned for touchdowns, a feat that only occurred twice before 2011. Another bitter-sweet occurrence for Lechler is his reduced workload.

Thanks to Oakland’s improved offense Lechler is seeing fewer opportunities to make the entire football world pause and look to the sky. After consecutive years of 90+ punts in 2008 and 2009 Shane hasn’t gotten off more than 78 kicks in 2010 and 2011. But that’s actually good news for the Raiders.

In 2012 the hope is that Lechler’s mega-leg will become the ultimate weapon. If the Raiders can get their defense on par with the offense then Lechler’s bombs will be even more deadly. Having a great punter is the ultimate luxury in football as booming kicks combined with a stifling defense can giftwrap the field position battle to a team with a weapon like Lechler.

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Tags: Jon Condo Ray Guy Sebastian Janikowski Shane Lechler

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