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Sebastian Janikowski optimistic after down season

Here's something that might make you feel old: Sebastian Janikowski is about to enter his 15th season in the NFL.

It was way back in 2000 when the Oakland Raiders used a first-round pick on Janikowski. Oakland remains the last team to use that special draft real estate on a kicker.

Last year represented something of a speed bump for a typically consistent player. The man known as "Seabass" converted just 21 of 30 field-goal attempts and publicly lamented the loss of Shane Lechler, the former Raiders punter who had been Janikowski's holder in his first 12 seasons.

Janikowski struggled to find a groove with new Raiders punter Marquette King, who also replaced Lechler as the team's holder.

"With Shane, we knew each other so well, that's a trust issue right there," Janikowski told the San Francisco Chronicle at a golf event. "He knew if I'm pushing the ball, he would tilt the ball in the different direction. So now I'm working with Marquette, and it's improving a lot."

Janikowski, of course, is well known for his booming left leg. How many other kickers can say they convinced their coach to attempt a 76-yard field goal? He turned 36 in March, but sees no decline in his ability.

"I don't think I've lost any distance," he said. "The power has always been there. My final step is so powerful, I've always had the power, since high school. ... I feel that I'm as strong as I was eight, 10 years ago."

Janikowski has undoubtedly earned a high level of goodwill in Oakland across a decade and a half. Still, 70 percent accuracy doesn't cut it -- especially in an era when kickers have never been better. Seabass probably won't survive another season-long slump.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" shines a light on the most unpredictable teams entering the 2014 season.

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