Overview:When it comes down to it, you want your specialists to be consistent. You want to know what you're getting out of them each Sunday, and to have the confidence that each kickoff, punt, extra point and field goal attempt will go off without a hitch. Often considered the unsung aspect of the game, in 2016, the Oakland Raiders were once again fortunate enough to have quality special teams play, something that is no longer a given in today's NFL. For the third season in a row, the trio of long snapper Jon Condo, punter Marquette King, and kicker Sebastian Janikowski handled the kicking and punting duties for the Silver and Black. Each of the three now-veterans put together quality 2016 campaigns, with Condo returning from a late-season injury in 2015 to play in all 16 games for the Raiders, while King and Janikowski were named Pro Bowl alternates. Once again, under the guidance of special teams coordinator Brad Seely, the Raiders specialists put together a strong season, doing their respective jobs well, and make no mistake about it, while their contributions might have flown a little under the radar, it was a big reason for the overall success of the team.
By The Numbers:In 2016, Sebastian Janikowski connected on his 53rd career field goal of 50-or-more yards which vaulted him into first place on the all-time list, breaking a tie with Jason Hanson. By season's end, "Seabass" had added two more long-distance connections, giving him 55 career field goals of 50-or-more yards.
Going Forward:Dare I say that at age 38 (he turns 39 later this week) Sebastian Janikowski shows no signs of slowing down? In 2016, No. 11 once again connected on upwards of 80 percent of his kicks, putting 29 field goals through the uprights, his most since 2012. His penchant for the long distance kicks also seemed as strong as ever, as "Seabass" connected on three of his eight attempts from 50-plus yards in 2016. The Polish national looked as strong as ever last season, and he's still going to be under contract in 2017. The same can be said for Marquette King, who after signing a long-term extension with Silver and Black in February 2016, will also be back with the club in 2017. The lone question, as far as the Raiders specialists are concerned anyway, is the future of long snapper Jon Condo. Since taking over the long snapping duties in 2007, Condo has been a consistent presence over the ball for the Raiders, appearing in 157 games in Silver and Black over the past decade. However, the former Pro Bowler is set to be a free agent in 2017, so I'll be watching closely to see how General Manager Reggie McKenzie deals with the future of No. 59.
An exclusive look back at the special teams unit from the 2016 season.
Standout Performer:Funny dances, social media antics, and exciting moments aside, Marquette King had one heck of a 2017 season. Since he took over the fulltime punting duties in 2013, King's leg strength has absolutely never been in question, but over the past two seasons in particular, No. 7 has really taken his game to the next level, and added a layer of finesse to his repertoire. 2016 served as a banner season for the Kick Squad President, as he led the league with 38 punts that traveled 50-or-more yards, downing 34 punts inside the 20-yard line, as well as 16 inside the 10-yard line. King was a legitimate game changer for the Raiders in 2016, and in all likelihood, his season should have ended with an appearance in the Pro Bowl.