You don't often point fingers at the special teams coordinator but this pre-season has been a disaster for the Raiders. As reported by every journalist covering the team, through four games, the Raiders gave up:
- a 28-yard punt return to Dallas
- an 83-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to the 49ers
- a 48-yard kickoff return by the 49ers
- kickoff returns against the Seahawks of 54 yards and the clincher of 99 yards for a touchdown to (former Raiders prospect) Louis Rankin.
That's just totally unacceptable. Even if it is pre-season, you have to do better. Guys should be trying to win a job through special teams so the coach needs to be on top of his game, fielding the best prospects on the roster for the duty.
Perhaps the release of special teams captain Tony Stewart was an indication things were not working out as they had hoped. Still, John Fassel is Johnny On The Spot. You have no choice but to do better preparing special teams or get out of Dodge. If we wanted to give up tons of yardage, I can do that.
The Raiders have good depth this season on defense so it should not be a problem to get it together on coverage teams. They kept Thomas Howard on the roster for this purpose. He's got the speed to match returners and is an efficient tackler.
So what are you going to show us in the regular season John? More of the same? We can't afford to give up field position and points so do your job.