Grading Raiders special teams

Grading Raiders special teams
January 24, 2013, 7:45 am
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Sebastian Janikowski's season highlight came against Kansas City in the home finale, when he kicked five field goals in a 15-0 victory. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

We are concluding our review of the Raiders' 4-12 season, which looked at each position group and assigned grades. Up last -- special teams…

Special teams
Placekicker Sebastian Janikowski -- Made 31 of 34 FGAs, missing from 51, 61 and 64 yards
Punter Shane Lechler -- Averaged 47.2 gross yards per punt, 39.0 net yards, on 81 punts
Long snapper Jon Condo -- Commitment to Excellence Award winner's worth shown when concussed in opener
Kick returner Mike Goodson -- Averaged 22.4 yards on 16 kickoff returns
Punt returner Denarius Moore -- Averaged 3.6 yards on nine punt returns

New special teams coordinator Bobby April had been on the job less than 48 hours Monday when CSNCalifornia.com asked him about the personnel at his disposal.\April admitted he knew next to nothing about it. A crash course, then, for the guy replacing the fired Steve Hoffman:

[RELATED: Q&A with news Raiders special teams coach Bobby April]

Special teams had been a strength for a number of years. But then Jacoby Ford, who was slated to return kicks and punts, suffered a season-ending Lisfranc sprain in an exhibition game. Jon Condo showed his value to the kicking games when he went down in the season opener with a concussion, turning the long-snapping game into a comedy of errors by that poor soul Travis Goethel, who last long-snapped in high school, and severely compromising the Raiders' chances against San Diego on national television.

Shane Lechler had a rough time coming back from an offseason knee procedure and his net average was his lowest since 2006 as he missed the Pro Bowl for the first time since that season. Lechler is an unrestricted free agent and does not figure to return, at least, not at $4 million per season, and with Marquette King waiting in the wings.

Mike Goodson was admirable in returning kicks, though the same could not really be said of Denarius Moore, who's punt return average fell from 8.6 yards to 3.6 yards.

Sebastian Janikowski, though, had what could be considered his finest all-around season, even as he was slowed by a groin injury most of the season. His season highlight came against Kansas City in the home finale, when he kicked five field goals in a 15-0 victory.
Grade: D+

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