I was reading the re-post of Cork's work and the mass of inane comments generated in response. Hidden amongst all the name calling and opinions unsupported by any reasonable data were a couple of thought provoking posts by posters who I respect, MAK and Jack's Axe. They suggested that a possible course of action for the Raiders would be to retain Marquette King and let him learn from Shane Lechler.
Now I think that throughout training camp and in the first pre-season game we have seen that King has a huge leg, but lacks consistency and may hold on to the ball a tick longer than necessary. Shane Lechler is without doubt the best punter in the league and one of the best all time but he is coming to the end of an already large contract for a punter and so raises the question on whether he gets re-signed, which won't be cheap, or the team goes in another direction.
The value in King is the huge leg. Consistency and timing are areas that can be coached and worked on in camp, being able to kick the ball 60+ yards with hangtime is not something that can be coached. Holding onto King would give the team leverage in contract negotiations with Lechler at the end of season. To me it is obvious that if they can resign Shane to a reasonable contract they do so. Shane Lechler has proven his ability time and time again, right now King has only shown potential, good potential but still potential.
The problem to holding onto King is that he will almost certainly need to be on the 53 man roster. I think we all remember Sterling Moore last year and King has shown enough already this year that I'm positive at least one team would gamble on his potential if the Raiders try to put him on the practice squad. So the question becomes, is he worth a place?
I say yes. Let me put it to you this way, who will have more value to the team next year? Marquette King or say Brandon Underwood, or Ed Wang, or whoever is the 53rd man on the roster? The team is only capable of dressing 46 people on game day. That means there are 7 players on the roster who are there because the team wants to protect them from the rest of the league. They are cover is key positions in the case of injury. So if injury occurs is it easier to find a backup OL or LB or a punter who booms the ball 60+ yards with a 5+ second hangtime? To my mind through ability and the leverage he offers Marquette King deserves a place on the roster.