Raiders work out three kickers to replace Janikowski

The Raiders worked out three kickers today in practice to start on Sunday as Sebastian Janikowski is questionable with a hamstring injury. The three were Dave Rayner, Ricky Schmitt, and Rhys Lloyd.

It is unclear exactly when Janikowski suffered the hamstring injury. Some believe it occurred in the game, as his last couple of kickoffs were not as long or sharp as we are used to seeing from him. Adding to the speculation is the Raiders going for it on fourth and one from the five yard line even though a field goal would have put them up by three scores.

Some background on the three kickers:

Dave Rayner has played on six different teams since his debut with the Colts in 2005. He has also been in training camp with three other teams. He spent a full season as the Packers’ kicker in 2006 and his 54 yard field goal during that season is tied for the Packer team record. He last kicked in a regular season game for the Lions as an injury fill-in for starter Jason Hanson for the final few games of the season. That was his second stint with the Lions and during that time he kicked a career long 55 yard field goal. Late in the season he kicked a game tying field goal and game winning field goal in overtime to beat the Buccaneers. He was in Cowboys training camp this year but didn’t make the team due in part to his missing two field goals in the team’s final preseason game.

Ricky Schmitt is familiar to the Raiders. He spent both 2008 and 2009 in their training camp. He played regular season games with the 49ers in 2009 and played with the Chargers this season as a punter. He has played a total of one regular season game as a kicker in the NFL, for the 49ers; he kicked two field goals in that game.

Rhys Lloyd made his NFL debut for the Baltimore Ravens in 2007. Later that season he was signed by the Panthers and played in Carolina until 2009. He split time in 2010 with the Vikings and Panthers. This season he played for the Giants until last week. The catch with Lloyd is in his near three seasons of NFL experience, he has never attempted a field goal or extra point. He is a kickoff specialist.

The presence of Lloyd leaves the possibility the Raiders could sign two kickers to replace Janikowski—one for field goals, the other for kickoffs. The ultimate compliment to Janikowski is that it would take two kickers to match his play.

The rub here is that someone will have to be cut to make room for a new kicker. It would be even more unfortunate if the team were forced to sign two kickers and clear roster space for both of them.

Janikowski is officially listed as questionable and with the bye week ahead, he should be back to face the Broncos when they visit Oakland afterward.

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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