Entering 2023 Training Camp, Raiders.com will preview every position group and evaluate the players who will potentially make up the 53-man roster. In the last installment of this series, we turn our attention to a special unit of players.
The Raiders will have a new long snapper after releasing Trent Sieg and signing Jacob Bobenmoyer, a player special teams coordinator Tom McMahon has history with.
Bobenmoyer spent two seasons with McMahon in Denver, first joining the team as a UDFA from Northern Colorado in 2020. He played linebacker as well in college, and was named a FCS All-American as a long snapper. He didn't miss a game his first two NFL seasons, but was hampered by injuries in 2022. McMahon stated this offseason he's confident with the decision to bring in a new long snapper, while AJ Cole and Daniel Carlson are still in the process of getting acquainted with him before the season begins.
"I think a specialist unit, it's a lot like a baseball and pitcher kind of relationship, where the three of us are out there together and we really have to trust each other, rely on each other," Carlson said earlier this offseason. "So, we've worked on building that. We started working kind of day one once he signed, once he got in town, we were out on a high school field practicing together just on our own and stuff. Just starting to try to build that trust and relationship that'll hopefully carry over onto the field on Sundays."
The kicker/punter tandem of Daniel Carlson and AJ Cole is one of, if not the best the NFL has to offer.
They're going into their fifth season together as two consistent pieces of the roster. Carlson received his first AP First Team All-Pro nod in 2022, knocking in nearly 92 percent of his field goals. It was his third straight season with a field goal percentage over 90. Additionally, he set a career-high for longest field goal made (57 yards) while going 11-of-13 for the season on field goals over 50 yards.
Cole received his second consecutive Pro Bowl selection in 2022, averaging nearly 48.9 yards per punt. He punted 26 of his 59 punts inside the 20-yard line, with a mere one touchback.
"This time of year is sort of an opportunity to try stuff, tinker with stuff," Cole said of his offseason training. "During the season you kind of have these – I guess I call them intrusive thoughts where you're like, 'What if I tried to do this,' or 'What if I tried to do that,' but it's like, 'Oh we have a game and like 15 minutes, I probably shouldn't try that.' So, the offseason is the time to let those thoughts win a little bit and kind of mess around with stuff and see if there's little gaps in areas you can get better.
"And then it's kind of nice too, because you try those things and you're like, 'Oh yeah, that definitely doesn't work. Don't do that in a game.' So, an opportunity to experiment and just sort of see what all you can get out of it. See how much you can maximize your potential."
View photos of the Las Vegas Raiders special teams unit heading into 2023 Training Camp.