Raiders News: Daniel Carlson, A.J. Cole

Ramble Regard: Daniel Carlson, A.J. Cole Already Dialed In For The Las Vegas Raiders

All the concerns about how the swap from Trent Sieg to Jacob Bobenmoyer would disrupt the established synergy in the special team’s battery were apparently all for naught—a fool’s errand. Preseason proved the Las Vegas Raiders‘ elite kick squad is already in midseason form, even with a new long snapper in tow. With Bobenmoyer delivering the ball, punter and holder A.J. Cole catching and placing it, and placekicker Daniel Carlson swinging his mighty leg, there’s no need to worry about the trio.

The rapport is there with the newcomer and southpaw snapper, Bobenmoyer. That impressive 62-yard field goal Carlson smashed through the upright against the Dallas Cowboys in the Las Vegas Raiders’ preseason finale last Saturday doesn’t happen if the special team’s trio isn’t on point with one another.

That boot could’ve been good from 67 yards, and it had plenty of power as it sailed between the uprights. And of course, you know someone had to ask Cole what that kick sounded like in his media session earlier this week.

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“It’s like a rocket going off…”

“I wish everybody could hear what I heard. It’s like a rocket going off. It’s like a cannon and an explosion, but it doesn’t really compare to like 60,000 people yelling, unfortunately,” Cole said of the sound the ball made as it flew off of Carlson’s foot on that long-distance field goal.

“A lot of people say that the best sound in sports is a hard-hit fastball or something, like that crack, but that’s just because nobody really cheers at baseball games. They can’t hear field goals. But if people can hear field goals, that’s the best noise in sports.”

Carlson finished the Raiders’ exhibition slate going 7-of-7 on field goals (the long of 62) and 9-for-9 on point-after attempts. In each of those tries, it was Bobenmoyer slinging the ball and Cole snaring it and holding it for those bombs.

“But yeah, honestly, it’s kind of funny because just based off the way the ball sounds off his foot, I probably could not look up and get it pretty much accurately whether or not the ball is going to go in or not because it just sounds different when it comes off his foot the right way versus the way he doesn’t want it to come off,” Cole said, illustrating just how well the Raiders’ punter is in sync with the kicker.

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Daniel Carlson was asked after the Cowboys game about “kicking too many field goals.”

“That’s the best way I can help the team,” he said. “Whenever I do end up out there, whether the drive stalls out or I get an extra point, I’ve got to take advantage of that. Whether it’s too many field goals or not, hopefully those three points can add up. Obviously, we want more extra points in the long run, especially when the regular season hits.”

Both Carlson and Cole’s boots will have a tremendous bearing on Las Vegas’ 2023 campaign—Daniel Carlson in the points department and A.J. Cole in the field position department. Pinning the opponent deep within their own territory can help alleviate the pressure on the Raiders defense while also putting a constraint on the opposing offense.

What’s missing this go-around for the Raiders, however, is a special teams maven, especially at gunner — like former wide receiver Mack Hollins. He’d use his 6-foot-4 frame and speed to rid himself of smaller special teamers who attempted to block him, and his length and catch radius to down the ball to prevent it from rolling into the end zone.

Las Vegas has options on the roster, and the gunners will be decided before long. Perhaps rookies Jakorian Bennett and Tre Tucker, both players with tremendous speed, can be in the mix. Or there’s big safety, Isaiah Pola-Mao. He too is 6-foot-4, fast, physical, and rangy like Hollins.

Who will the Las Vegas Raiders end up going with?

“Yeah, I think kind of the time that we have now to the season, now that we know who’s going to be here, they’re figuring out who’s going to be active on game day and all those different things,” Cole said when asked about potential gunners on his year’s special teams unit. “We’ll have two opportunities, kind of tomorrow and next week, to sort of get a lot of those pooch punt reps and figure out who that guy might be, but I think we have a lot of really capable gunners. They’ve been working all spring and summer.

“Mack had the role last year, but whoever ends up doing it this year, I’ve got a lot of confidence in. I mean, those guys that have been doing it have made a lot of plays in practice.”

We’ll find out soon enough on all fronts, Raider. For Daniel Carlson and A.J. Cole, along with Bobenmoyer, we’ll see if the smooth operation they’ve got going on continues when games count. The first of which is a Sunday afternoon showdown with the Broncos in Denver on September 10.

*Top Photo: Raiders Media Relations

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