Editor’s note: Insider Scott Bair will be providing position-by-position breakdowns each day leading up to Raiders training camp, which opens on July 31.
Who they have: Sebastian Janikowski, Marquette King, Jon Condo, Giorgio Tavecchio, Steven Clark, KR/PR TJ Carrie, KR George Atkinson III, KR Latavius Murray, KR/PR Trindon Holliday, Gunner/KR Taiwan Jones
Who they lost: No one
Looking back: Raiders specialists had a strong season. Sebastian Janikowski rallied after a subpar 2013 season, converting 19 of 22 field goals in 2014. Punter Marquette King was a top 10 punter with a 40-yard net average despite a whopping 109 attempts. He developed into a real asset for the Raiders, at times sacrificing distance to help his coverage unit. Long snapper Jon Condo was perfect again last season, forming a solid group of specialists.
The Raiders played without their best coverage man. Taiwan Jones was lost for the year in the preseason. Punt coverage gave up 10.9 yards per return and a touchdown, and opponents averaged 32.5 yards per return due to some big returns allowed.
Overall outlook: The Raiders are in good shape with specialists. Janikowski shows no signs of slowing down and King is just entering his prime.
The Raiders worked hard to improve on special teams through the draft, and should be better in that area under coordinator Brad Seely.
The Raiders return game remains in question. Seventh-round pick Andre Debose could’ve been the primary return man, but is done for the year after tearing an Achilles’ tendon.
Camp competition: The Raiders need to find a return man for both punts and kickoffs. TJ Carrie was the punt returner in 2014. He and running back Latavius Murray returned kickoffs. It’s not ideal to have such important starters involved in the return game.
The team signed Trindon Holliday as an option. George Atkinson III could help on kickoffs, or Jones could return as well. Carrie could still end up playing a major role on special teams, though he’ll be taxed with extensive responsibilities on defense.
Seely said he’d prefer his punter be a holder, though King and Janikowski have had issues with that. A backup quarterback could end up filling that spot.
Bottom line: There’s no drama surrounding specialists should they stay healthy. Holliday will have every chance to be the return man, though a beefed-up, motivated Jones might be the answer on kickoffs at least.