Editor’s note: This is the first part in a series that spotlights three Texans-Raiders matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m., at O.co Coliseum
Texans P Shane Lechler vs. Raiders PR TJ Carrie
Tale of the tape:
Lechler (9): 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, 15th season, Texas A&M
Carrie (38): 6-feet, 204 pounds, rookie season, Ohio
Raiders fans know Lechler well.
He spent 13 seasons with the Silver and Black, during which time he was recognized among the best punters of his era. He has a booming leg, pinpoint accuracy and hang time that makes returns tough.
Even so far into his NFL career, Lechler remains near the top of his game. He had a 47.6-yard net punting average and dropped a career-best 34 punts inside the opposing 20 yard line. Lechler always punted well at O.co Coliseum, and he makes his return for the first time as a visitor on Sunday afternoon when the Texans come to town.
He’ll be vital in a game where field position should be vital, and could a dangerous weapon in a contested game.
The Raiders will try and negate some of Lechler’s genius with an improved return game featuring Carrie, a seventh-round draft pick and Concord De La Salle High grad. Carrie returned just one punt for seven yards in a loss to the New York Jets. He also had a costly mental error where he performed a fair catch inside the Raiders’ 10-yard line. He must be better against Lechler, one of the NFL’s best punters.
“I think he’s another one of those Hall of Fame caliber punters,” Raiders head coach Dennis Allen said. “He’s done it for a long time, at an extremely high level. He’s a pro in what he does and really he’s a weapon for them. I think the key is hopefully, to be able to hold them back where he doesn’t get in those down and punt type situations because we understand that this game, a lot of it is about field position.”