There are very few players in the league who will be replacing an NFL legend this season.
Yeah, Shane Lechler was a punter and not a quarterback, but he had put up the greatest numbers a punter has ever had in his tenure with the Oakland Raiders. Two men will be vying to replace the new Houston Texan Shane Lechler: Marquette King and Chris Kluwe.
The favorite to win the job is former Minnesota Vikings punter Kluwe. While he has been a mediocre punter in his career, he reached celebrity status because of his stance on gay marriage. Kluwe even turned down a request to appear at an event at the White House this summer because of the team’s minicamp.
Fan favorite Marquette King has won praise from the Raider Nation because of his booming 70-yard punts in practice and last preseason. King has all the potential to become a great punter in this league, which is why GM Reggie McKenzie put him on injured reserve last season in a Bill Belichick-esque move. King was supposed to be another training camp leg last season, but his punting prowess in training camp and preseason led the Raiders to not even offer Lechler a contract this season.
It will be up to King to prove that he can be consistent enough to win the job in training camp. While his leg is substantially stronger than Kluwe’s, he has shown that he cannot consistently punt the ball well.
Unfortunately, the Raiders will most likely be forced to punt a lot this season because of an unproven offense. With Matt Flynn or Tyler Wilson at the helm of a new look Raiders offense, the beginning of the season will be rough for the offense.
The uncertainty on offense will probably give Kluwe the edge to become the Raiders’ punter this year. With a weak defensive line and a new look defense the Raiders can’t afford to give up field position because of bad punts.
Jorge Contreras is an Oakland Raiders writer for RantSports.com. Follow Jorge on Twitter @jraycontreras