Nnamdi Asomugha and Shane Lechler Headed For Miami

By MikeBullock  |   Wednesday, December 30, 2009  |  Comments( 12 )

Oakland Raiders
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It’s not really a surprise to see Shane Lechler, who is just shy of an NFL single season punting average record, and Nnamdi Asomugha, one of the most feared corners in the AFC, are heading for Miami as starters in the Pro Bowl the week before the Superbowl.

Lechler, who has punted for nearly a thousand yards against the Kansas City Chiefs alone in his career, is arguably the best punter in league history and a strong contender to be the first punter selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame when his day comes. While Raider Nation lobbies for Ray Guy to land in the Hall, five years after Lechler retires, there’ll certainly be a logjam for the first punter to get in.

Asomugha, who lit it up in 2006 but was then snubbed for the Pro Bowl that season, has seemed to be far quieter statistically, but that’s more a testament to the fear he puts in opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks. Why throw the ball towards Asomugha when, more often than not, the guy on the other side isn’t going to cover as well, giving you a better opportunity to advance the ball. Unfortunately, just like most of former Raider great Tim Brown’s career, Asomugha is a great player on a terrible team which will certainly bring his deservingness into question when the Hall of Fame eligibility begins for him.

While, this seems like a reason to celebrate, when you realize the Raiders have 19 players in the Hall, yet routinely only send two or less players to the Pro Bowl over the last seven years, you can’t help but realize how utterly wrong everything has gone in Oakland. At what point will all these perceived snubs, losses and utter inability to put a consistent product on the field turn the light bulb on in Al Davis’ mental attic? If your players aren’t going to the Pro Bowl, it’s pretty obvious your team isn’t going to the playoffs.

So, instead of cheering on the Silver & Black through the post season, Raider Nation gets another year of hoping to catch a glimpse of a Raider helmet in the sea of Colts, Patriots, Ravens and Chargers helmets dominating the AFC Pro Bowl team.

Another small glimmer of a good vibration comes in the Pro Bowl’s timing this year, with the game landing before the Superbowl. You can bet your bottom dollar if the Colts make it to the big show, Dallas Clark won’t be playing in the Pro Bowl, which opens the door for alternate Zach Miller. Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are also on the AFC team, but won’t show if Indy goes to the Superbowl either, which puts Richard Seymour in the mix. However, knowing Oakland’s luck, the Pro Bowl committee will decide Seymour is an interior lineman, since he moves inside and outside with equal finesse and call up someone else.

Sadly, this is what Raider Nation has been reduced to, debates on whether certain players will get snubbed for the Pro Bowl, instead of blasting Pittsburgh fans for the immaculate reception or New England fans for the tuck rule fiasco or bathing in the glory of a Lombardi Trophy, freshly won. Instead of playoff drama or championship glory, Raider fans get Pro Bowl leftovers made all the worse by the inclusion of a punter… the last guy a fan ever wants to see walk out onto the field.
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