The Las Vegas Raiders have plenty of players looking to make a name for themselves in 2020. One name people are overlooking is the kicker, Daniel Carlson.
Up and down the Raiders roster you’ll find players looking to make big contributions while Carlson is looking to revindicate himself. The former Auburn Tiger struggled mightily in 2019 and despite a long offseason, he finds himself with another shot.
You hate to see an NFL kicker regress but that’s exactly what happened to Carlson after a promising 2018 campaign. He went from making 16 of his 17 field goals that year to only scoring 19 of his 26 attempts last season. Adding to Carlson’s disappointing year was the fact he missed two extra-point kicks for the Silver and Black.
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The fact that Carlson is still with the Raiders proves the coaching staff believes in him and possibly, may think 2019 was an anomaly. Whether 2019 was a fluke or not, special teams coach Rich Bisaccia thought highly of Carlson this camp.
“We feel like he’s come back really strong… He’s had a tremendous offseason getting together with (punter) AJ (Cole) and doing a lot of work on his own.”
Despite the unique and odd way NFL camps were held this year, it’s encouraging to see Carlson has taken everything in stride. Rather than letting a bad year get to him, he’s bouncing back, making the most of this opportunity. It’s much more than a positive mentality that Carlson’s bringing, he’s been working on his accuracy as Bisaccia pointed out.
“Two days in a row, I think he went 12-for-12. Had a couple of misses on Friday. He came back today and had a good outing. … We put him in a lot of pressure situations throughout the entire training camp of different kicking situations. He’s responded well.”
Raiders brass could’ve easily signed or even drafted a kicker had they really wanted, alas, Carlson is still the one head coach Jon Gruden will look to on Sundays. Nailing kicks in a training environment with no pressure is nice, yes, but can Carlson deliver on gamedays once again? We won’t have to wait too long as the Raiders prepare to visit the Carolina Panthers in Week 1.
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*Top Photo: Rick Scuteri/Associated Press