We knew that the Raiders were high on former Gators kicker Eddy Pineiro when they drafted him back in April. And that became more apparent when they released their successful 2017 kicker, rookie Giorgio Tavechhio, last week.
Now, after last night’s preseason debut in Oakland, it appears it’s Pineiro’s job to lose.
First, Pineiro was perfect with 3-3 in field goals and 1-1 in extra points in the Raiders 16-10 victory over the Lions. And, that included a lengthy make of 48 yards at the end of the first half.
Second, even though Oakland has brought in 13 year veteran Mike Nugent, it appears from what they are saying and what they just demonstrated in game one, Pineiro has the bigger leg for kickoffs, etc.
As for getting rid of a left footed kicker, Tavecchio, who was reliable at 16-21 on field goals and 33-34 on point after kicks, new Raiders coach Jon Gruden explained it at the time to the media that they were simply being too hard on punter/holder Johnny Townsend. They were asking him to repeatedly switch from a left footed to a right footed “hold mechanics” and then, back, again.
Meanwhile, Nugent who has kicked previously for the Jets, Bucs, Bengals and others is right footed. So, that does make it easier on the holder throughout the work they are doing in camp.
As for Pineiro, he is a state product (Miami native), and he had a good college career at Florida. He made 17-18 FG’s during the Gators miserable season last year. And combined with his 21-25 year in 2016, he totaled an 88% field goal career mark.
We did take a humorous look at his leg strength prior to the 2017 season, when Pineiro’s practice video of him kicking an 81 yard field goal went viral on Youtube.
And, as the photo above shows, the Raiders are the last team still playing in a multi-purpose football/baseball stadium-still sharing it with the Oakland A’s.
And Gruden mentioned postgame that they wanted to get Pineiro a kick or two off the surface in a game, because the Raiders will have that infield dirt in their first couple of September early season games.
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