Raiders return game wide open

July 26, 2010

One of the many areas in need of an emerging go-to presence is the return game. Last year, the Oakland Raiders had eleven different players return either punts or kicks.

While once a threat on return duties, Johnnie Lee Higgins was reduced to just handling punts in 2009. Coming off of a 2008 season which saw him return 36 kicks for 842 yards, Higgins was hampered by injuries for the better part of 2009. Higgins was pulled off of kick return duties altogether and ended up sharing punt returns with both Javon Walker and Sam Williams. It's uncertain as to whether or not Higgins will re-emerge and prove that his speed and quickness are still there, or if another player will step up and completely remove him of his duties.

The kick return situation is far less settled, as there were eight players last year handling that duty. In 2009, Johnathan Holland, Gary Russell, Justin Miller, Louis Rankin, Marcel Reece, Sam Williams, Tony Stewart and Luke Lawton were all called upon at one time or another to return kickoffs.

It's safe to say that the Raiders are in dire need of at least two individuals to step and emerge as special teams threats come this training camp.

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