Part VI and the final in the series of the Silver and Black Pride, Raiders 2008 Player Achievement Awards - Most Valuable Player.
The Community voted and chose Shane Lechler as your 2008 Special Teams Player of the Year in a close battle with 45% of the vote.
Here is a recap of your choices for the previous awards:
- Darren McFadden - Rookie of the Year
- Johnnie Lee Higgins - Most Improved Player of the Year
- Nnamdi Asomugha - Defensive Player of the Year
- Zach Miller - Offensive Player of the Year
- Shane Lechler - Special Teams Player of the Year
The criterion for the Most Valuable Player on the Oakland Raiders should be the player that is the most valuable asset to this team, and the player who makes the biggest difference to the success of this team. MVP's in any sport have value beyond their own statistics.
A most valuable player has an importance to their team's performance, personality and competence on the field. It should also mean that the player had the greatest impact to the Raiders for the 2008 season, played with heart and bled Silver and Black. Of course, the Raiders only won 5 games in 2008, so you should consider the player for this award to be the one that had the impact in those victories as well as whose leadership, ability and presence kept the team competitive and relevant.
Your candidates for Most Valuable Player are:
Simply stated, All-Pro Nnamdi Asomugha is the most respected player in the game today. Not just for his his skills that have him shutting down an entire side of the field, but for his integrity, leadership and character. Nnamdi personifies professionalism on and off the field and has been the stand-up guy for the Raiders during times of adversity when no one else would.
A punter for MVP? Yes, when you are Shane Lechler and you are that important to your team and impact the game as much as he has. All-Pro Shane Lechler has proven to be a "special" weapon for his team, not just a punter, but someone who effects the game with his incredible skills. Lechler's booming punts, hang time and coffin corner kicks has allowed an amazing 33 of his 90 punts to be downed inside the 20 yard line. You really have to ask yourself the question, how many games would the Raiders have won in 2008 without Shane Lechler?
The 2008 season started out with JLH handling both punt and kickoff return duties and early on with his lack of confidence playing a factor he was replaced in both areas for a short span. Later JLH was got his job back as a punt returner and he became a star averaging more than 13 yards a return and taking three to the house while reducing his fumbles lost to just one. JLH and JaMarcus also started to click and Johnnie became the Raiders leading wide receiver in 2008 with 22 receptions for 366 yards and 4 TD's. JLH was clearly a factor in the Raiders victories in 2008 and was a real spark plug throughout the season.
The product of Arizona State quickly became a favorite target of quarterback JaMarcus Russell, as the big tight end was usually open when a crucial reception was needed. It would be hard to imagine just how bad the Raiders offense would be without Miller as part of it. In fact, Miller in 2008 led all Raiders receivers in receptions and that was with Zach staying in and blocking much of the time due to the Raiders weak offensive line.
Honorable mentions: Sebastian Janikowski, Kirk Morrison, Robert Gallery Justin Fargas and JaMarcus Russell.
I would like to thank all of you in the S&BP Community who have participated in these installments as your votes and comments were very true to the objectives of this series.