May 19, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders punter Marquette King (7) at organized team activities at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
- Starter: Sebasiatan Janikoswki
- Starter: Marquette King
- Kick Return/Punt Return: Unknown
Honestly, there’s not a whole lot that needs to be said about Sebastian Janikowski. He’s coming off of a season where he went 19 for 22 on field goal attempts. A career low for attempts. But a much improved percentage made, (70% field goals made in 2013, 86.4% in 2014) and that is made even more impressive by the fact that according to Pro Football Focus, every one of his field goal attempts were beyond 30 yards. In fact, 92% of his field goal attempts were from 40 yards or more.
This is simply a result of the poor offense from 2014, and really has more to do with field position than anything else. I think this year we will see much more work for #11, and if last year was an indicator he’s still got plenty of good football left in him, and plenty of power left in that leg of his.
Marquette King was source of frustration for me, not because he doesn’t have the physical tools to be great punter, but because he was just a bit too aggressive. Too many times last year he would out punt his coverage team, giving the opposing team’s return man plenty of time to get up to speed, and carry that momentum into long punt returns. King was used a lot during the season, and got better and better as the season went on. He needs to improve on lowering the number of punts he kicks that are returnable, let alone returnable for yards. If he continues to trend in a positive direction like he did in 2014, I think he’ll do a fine job this year.
In the return game, it’s still not quite clear who will be returning kicks and punts. TJ Carrie was the primary return man last year, and was greatly missed when he was out. This year a few young receivers looking for roster spots might be battling it out for the position, along with an old timer or two looking to snag the job.
SPECIAL TEAMS OVERALL GRADE: B+
The lack of clarity at the return positions right now is a bit concerning. I’m one of the people who subscribes to the importance of a return game. A solid return game can get an offense to a quick start at the start of a half, turn the tides in terms of the field positions battle, or completely stifle an opposing team’s chance at a come from behind victory. I hope whoever ends up being the returners for the Raiders can muster up that type of big play capability.
Next: Raiders Position Grades: Overall