ALAMEDA – Marquette King can’t wait to fly a mile high. Denver is a punter’s paradise, with thin air that allows for booming kicks.
King can do that at sea level.
“I can’t wait to get to Colorado,” the Raiders young punter said after Saturday’s practice. “I’m pretty excited about it. I’ve heard a lot of good things about punting at altitude.”
It affords an excellent chance to get King permanently on track. The first-year player has had mixed results over two games. His holding deserves a similar grade.
The Raiders coaching staff hasn’t lost faith. He’ll continue to hold despite sharing reps with Matt Flynn on Thursday. He’ll continue to punt deep while working on accuracy.
“I have all the confidence in the world that when he’s called upon to do his job,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said, “he’ll go out there and do a good job for us.”
His performance has been uneven, in large part due to nerves. King has two touchbacks in six attempts, and just one kept inside the 20 and Sebastian Janikowski missed two field goals with King holding for him.
King continues to work diligently on his craft, arriving early and staying far later than your average specialist. King believes a good start in Denver, a boomer than showcases his powerful leg.
“I want that first punt to be a big one,” King said. “I want to get a good feel of things and get in a rhythm. The first one sets the tone, and I want to set a positive one that can I can really build on in this game. The goal is to repeat that each game and become the type of consistent punter I know I can be.”
He wants to hold well for Janikowski. He was part of a miss Sunday against Jacksonville, but comfort clearly grew during four straight subsequent conversions.
Janikowski was comfortable with Shane Lechler – a punter who left via free agency – a holder for more than a decade. The process starts over with King, who is committed to holding just right.
“It takes time, especially replacing a holder he’s worked with for 13 years,” King said. “In the offseason, I would go in and watch film of Shane to see how he holds the ball. I’ve been trying to everything that Shane did, to make (Janikowski) as comfortable as possible. I’ve asked him what he wants me to do. Different kickers like different types of holds. Some guys are picky, and you have to make sure it’s just right every time.”