Last, but certainly not least, our position battle series wraps up today with a look at the Oakland Raiders specialists.
Just like last season, Jon Condo will be handling the snapping duties, while Marquette King will punt, and Sebastian Janikowski will handle the kicking for the Silver and Black, although at camp he’ll also be joined by Giorgio Tavecchio.
The trio of Condo, King, and Janikowski are not only one of the league’s most solid groups of specialists, they’re also one of its most entertaining, so in the final days before Training Camp 2017, let’s take a deeper look at what to expect from them in 2017.
**Long Snapper Jon Condo
2016 Recap (Appeared In 16 Games)
After missing three games in 2015 due to injury, a healthy Condo appeared in all 16 games – and the team’s postseason bout with the Houston Texans – in 2017.
Condo was once again his typically solid self between the hash marks last year. He routinely put King and Janikowski in solid kicking positions, all while being a factor as a tackler on special teams too.
The former Maryland Terrapin has handled the Raiders snapping duties now for over a decade, and headed into Year 11 in Silver and Black, No. 59 has shown no signs of slowing down.
And as valuable as Condo is on the field, he’s just as valuable off of it, as he was named the team’s 2016 Ed Block Courage Award winner.
Plain and simple, good teams have players like Condo on the roster; players who not only go about their business and do the little things right, but also handle their business off the field the right way as well.
Kicker Sebastian Janikowski
2016 Recap (29 Field Goals, 37 Extra Points, 124 Points)
At this point in the game, there aren’t many records or accolades that Janikowski hasn’t achieved throughout his illustrious career, but in 2016 he took down a record that was close to his heart, becoming the NFL’s all-time leader in field goals over 50 yards.
Janikowski has long been heralded for not only his booming leg, but his accuracy from deep as well, and now, with his 55 field goals of 50-plus yards, there’s really no disputing that he’s one of the best kickers from distance in NFL history.
“Seabass” is more than just a powerful leg though; not only was he lethal from long range in 2016, but he also made the shorter kicks too, making over 82 percent of his kicks for the seventh time in his career.
Now headed into his 18th season as a Raider, Janikowski still looks to have a lot left in that mighty left leg of his, and I’m looking forward to seeing how he looks in 2017.
**Punter Marquette King
2016 Recap (81 Punts, 3937 Yards)
The self-proclaimed “Kick Squad President” put together another quality campaign in 2016, routinely showing off his trademark big kicking ability, but also showcasing a little more finesse when needed too.
King’s 38 punts of at least 50 yards were tops in the NFL, and his 16 downed inside the 10-yard line were good for second in the league. Since taking over the Raiders punting duties in 2013, No. 7 has seemed to add another facet to his game each season, and I expect to see him produce an even more refined product in 2017.
In addition to establishing himself as one of the league’s premier punters, King has also emerged as one of the NFL’s most charismatic characters. From his post-punt dances, to his hijinks on social media, it seems like at times everything that King does results in a can’t-miss moment.
All that stuff aside though, King is one heck of a punter, and look for him to have another big year in 2017.
Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio
2016 Recap (Spent Training Camp With The Oakland Raiders)
The former University of California kicker was brought back into the mix in April, and proceeded to go through the Offseason Workout Program with the Silver and Black after his arrival.
At this point, Raiders fans are likely familiar with Tavecchio and his work; not only is he a local kid, but he has spent time on and off the team’s roster since 2014.
Once again, the preseason will be crucial for No. 2, to not only show the Raiders coaching staff what he has, but to also show the other 31 NFL teams what he brings to the table as well.
Storyline To Follow:
Can Sebastian Janikowski deliver yet another strong season?
At age 39, and now entering his 18th professional season, the Polish National hasn’t seemed to show his age at all. Janikowski was once again a full participant in the team’s Offseason Workout Program, and the veteran kicker was praised by multiple coaches and players for his commitment.
Throughout his career, Janikowski has been “in range” as soon as the offense gets over midfield, and I’m excited to see just how effective he is from distance again in 2017.
Janikowski’s career long is 63 yards, could he top that this year? Only time will tell.