Former All Star QB Having a Great Year In Oakland

Bret ArmstrongAnalyst INovember 13, 2009

DENVER - NOVEMBER 23:  Punter Shane Lechler #9 of the Oakland Raiders punts the ball to the Denver Broncos during week 12 NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 23, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 31-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Shane Lechler is on pace to set an NFL record this year for the Oakland Raiders. That's right folks, in another season of turmoil and disappointment, one Oakland Raider is having a great year.

While no one can deny that we love our punter, we are proud to have him, and he is the best in the league, some would argue that the fact he punts 5.75 times per game is too much action for an NFL punter.

Lechler is averaging an NFL record 52.3 yards per punt, with a net of 44.9. Only two punters in NFL history have averaged 50 yards per punt, one was Slingin' Sammie Baugh and the other was Donnie Jones, who averaged 50.0 yards last year.

In his NFL record-setting season, which was only 11 games, Sammie Baugh averaged 51.4 yards per punt on 35 attempts.

Lechler said, "It's funny, you look at those records and you see the numbers and you're like, 'Were their calculations right then? You guys serious? How close were you guys watching this because these numbers are amazing.'"

Lechler does currently hold the career record with a 47.1 yards per average, but is really high on this record, and has looked to take it since his first year in the league. "He was a hell of a player, man," Lechler said. "It kind of reminds you of one of those old Texas high school football players that used to play the whole game."

Lechler has taken the field 46 times in only 92 offensive drives for Oakland's 32nd ranked offense. Lechler currently has 26 punts of more than 50 yards, tied for the league lead in that category.

"Unfortunately, our situation helps him be the best in pro football," Raiders coach Tom Cable said. "What's huge to me is he consistently does it. It's not a game here, a game there. It's every week."
Cable is hoping Lechler can break the record, but at the same time he would like to see him punt fewer times per game. For the Raiders, it says something that they leave enough open field for Lechler to have that kind of average, and what it is saying is that things are not good in Oakland.