There were many things that went went wrong for the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019. Among those were a leaky defense and a subpar wide receiver corps. One that didn’t get as much attention was kicker Daniel Carlson’s inadequate play. However, his Week 1 performance could be a sign that he left his kicking struggles behind.
The kicking game should be an asset for the Raiders once again
It’s easy to forget Carlson had a good first season with the Raiders after struggling in 2019. That’s the nature of the NFL though, those that perform can keep their job while those that don’t get the pink slip. Back in 2018, Carlson completed 16 of 17 field goal attempts but last season, his accuracy went down to 19 out of 26. Moreover, he missed two extra points, so it wasn’t surprising to hear the Silver and Black brought in undrafted free agent Dominik Eberle this past offseason.
Eberle’s tenure with the Raiders was a short one as they released him in early August. That should’ve hinted us they felt comfortable with Carlson moving forward. Another sign of encouragement was special teams coordinator Rich Biscaccia’s endorsement. Before the season started, the coach said the kicker had had a “tremendous offseason“.
Carlson didn’t disappoint, and nailed the two field goals he attempted and completed all four extra point kicks in the season opener. For his efforts against the Panthers, he got the AFC Special Team Player of the Week accolade. That should give him a boost of confidence while showing his coach’s trust on him was warranted.
The NFL landscaping can change in the blink of an eye. That’s precisely how Carlson’s time with the Raiders feel. He was solid one season and then struggled the following one. Now, he seems back in shape and without the uncertainty that surrounded his job security early this year. Another solid game against the Saints should solidify Carlson’s status as an asset and not a liability for the Silver and Black.
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Top Photo: Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press