There is plenty of blame to go around concerning the Oakland Raiders 1-5 performance through the first six games.
Nevertheless, one area, many anticipated to be a plus mark for Jon Gruden, is his top lieutenant Rich Bisaccia’s group — special teams. Thus far, that unit has been rich in name and poor in performance. Attaining mediocrity would be a vast improvement and help uplift a team struggling in all three phases (offense, defense, and special teams) of the game.
Let us break it down:
Rookie Johnny Townsend is ranked 21st in punting out of the 34 with 15 or more boots.
Ranked 21st in punting out of 34 punts that have 15 or more boots. He delivered 24 punts for 1,035 yards with a long of 56. His gross average sits at 43.1 (ranked 27th) while his net average is 39.4 (20th). Four of his boots dropped inside the opponent’s 20. Four of his punts have landed out of bounds, three have been downed by teammates, five were fair caught and two landed in the end zone. 10 of his punts have been returned for 58 total yards (11th least).
Townsend’s NFL career has been scrutinized and for good reason. At Florida, became known to be a booming punter, who routinely out-kicked his coverage. As a Raider, the power seems diminished and he is apt to shank punts.
Compare that to other fellow rookies:
* Seattle’s Michael Dickson is 6th in net average (41.8) and 11th in average (46.3). Dickson has dropped 12 of his 31 boots inside the 20.
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* Green Bay’s JK Scott is 15th in net average (40.1) and 13th in average (45.9). Scott has placed 8 of his 22 punts in the 20.
The Raiders are dead last in touchbacks with nine. For perspective, the Cardinals have totaled 11 while the Seahawks have 14. Despite that, the Raiders coverage unit yields 21.4 yards on 16 returns (and that includes the 2 onside kick attempts – failed).
Oakland sits tied at 26th for field goal percentage (73) making 11 of 15 as a group. The Raiders are the only team in the league to have a field goal blocked.
* Mike Nugent went 6-for-6 on kicks and 4-for-6 on PATs before landing on IR
* Rookie Matthew McCrane went 5-for-9 on boots and 5-for-5 on the point after.
Rookie Daniel Carlson assumed kicking duties. However, he went 1-for-4 with the Vikings (who drafted him in the 5th round) on kicks. Subsequently, they released him after only 2 games. He did manage nine touchbacks in those two games.
The Raiders have the least amount of returns at four, but are ranked 10th in average at 20.8.
To highlight the disparity, Bisaccia’s former squad — the Dallas Cowboys — only has five returns but hold a 24.8 average.
The Raiders are 7th in punt return average at 11.6 (a long of 49) and have returned 11 boots and fair caught eight.
In reality, the Raiders thought realeasing Tavecchio and King would help the new regime put a stamp on an aspect of the team. Yet, they actually did the opposite.