Long time Oakland Raiders Kicker, Sebastian Janikowski, was placed on IR this weekend due to a lingering back issue that shouldn’t require surgery. In an effort to fill his shoes, the Raiders signed former Cal Bear, and longtime practice squad member, Giorgio Tavecchio.
Tavecchio has moved from team to team since entering the league as an undrafted free agent in 2012. Taking up residence on practice squads with the 49ers, Packers, Lions, and most recently, the Raiders.
Up until this point in his career, the Italian-born place kicker had never made it to an active roster. All that changed Sunday when Tavecchio stepped onto the field at Nissan Stadium.
The game ball goes to Giorgio. What a debut.
Watch his speech: pic.twitter.com/7uKZfyY84p
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) September 10, 2017
Giorgio Tavecchio Perfect In Raiders Debut
Out Of The Pan And Into The Fire
Faced with his first field goal attempt as a professional—a 20-yard attempt early in the second quarter—Tavecchio split the uprights straight down the middle.
The kick would be his first of four field goals on the afternoon, to include two from 52-yards, and one from 43. Giorgio Tavecchio’s performance is the culmination of years spent fighting for an opportunity to showcase his abilities.
The Raiders have a history of great kickers, and judging from his performance Sunday, Tavecchio may be the next to join the list. Blessed with a big leg and a cool demeanor, he has the makings of something special.
His left-footed kicking style makes him a true plug-and-play option for Special teams Coordinator, Brad Seely. And in a sport that relies on continuity, Tavecchio makes sense.
Large Shoes To Fill
The sample size is as small as it can be, but every player has to start somewhere. In a weekend that saw a rookie running back dismantle a good defense on the road, is it crazy to think that it couldn’t happen again? Or that a special teams player could be just as important to a team’s future as an effective running back?
Giorgio Tavecchio is going to get his opportunity to kick for the Oakland Raiders over the next couple of week. He is filling the shoes of one of the best place kickers in league history.
Sunday’s performance is a testament to what Tavecchio is capable of. If he can continue to produce at a high level, the Raiders may have found the most valuable free agent they’ve had in years.