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Number 9...Number 9

I like Shane Lechler. I think he’s arguably the greatest punter of all time. He’s a perennial Pro-Bowler, and is often, the Raiders only representative in Hawaii. He’s the sweetheart of the broadcast box. How many times during a Raider game do you hear the fellas in the booth swooning over Lechler’s “Mammoth Leg?” Answer-Too many.

Is such a public knowledge of the talents of a football team’s Punter a positive for the organization? No. Nobody remembers a punter on a winning team.

Remember that awesome play in the Super Bowl last year? No, no. Don’t give me any of that Santonio Holmes business. I’m talking about the punt that won the field position battle.

Remember who punted for the Cowboys when they dominated the early 90’s? Dang. That’s weird. I should know this.

Listen; don’t tell me Ronnie Lott was an impact player. I never saw him punt the ball 70 yards.

Steel Curtain? Weak. That team was only as good as Bobby Walden’s punts.

The only way a punt is ever significant, really, is if it’s returned or blocked. The Hall of Fame is full of players that were perennial Pro-Bowlers, players that had significant impact on the game and the success of their team. Nobody with a bust in Canton ever made his living punting the football.

Somebody else has to start making plays. Justin Fargas has been running with a purpose the last two weeks and he’s been exciting to watch. The Raiders were a few bad passes and missed assignments away from beating the Chargers on Sunday. It’s too bad. Russell thought he did a “Pretty good job” on Sunday. I don’t even want to think about what will happen the day he thinks he does a “Pretty bad job.”

Number 9 is going to get some much deserved time off this weekend. The Raiders have a bye. This could be just what they need. Hopefully, they’ll realize that Lechler probably wouldn’t mind if someone else shared the spotlight.

Once again, Shane Lechler is a great talent and he’s the only thing keeping the Raiders in these games. I’ll never forget him, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Jake Simmons