The Las Vegas Raiders have found great success putting points on the board, not only through their elite run game and efficient passing, but through the foot of Daniel Carlson as well. The placekicker is currently on path to enjoy his best season since entering the league in 2018.
The three-time All-American from Auburn has come through big for the Raiders this season. Carlson has made nearly 92 percent of his kicks this season, including a 54-yard career high against the Saints that helped put the game out of reach for the Raiders.
"Just taking it one day at a time," said Daniel Carlson. "It's good to have a good start for the team, couple of big wins, but it's all about the next game. Just keeping that mindset. I feel good where I'm at and just taking one day at a time from there."
Carlson was able to build a strong rapport with his placeholder and punter AJ Cole as well. The two trained together in Alabama during the offseason and built good chemistry going into training camp.
Carlson was also able to train with Cole in Las Vegas before the COVID-19 pandemic began to take shape. Despite the "weird offseason" it was for the two, Carlson felt that they were still able to properly get prepared for this season.
"He's a true professional," Carlson said of AJ Cole. "It's nice to be friends with the guys you work with, and we're just continuing to work on that.
AJ Cole has taken advantage of his opportunities this season despite having punted the fewest times out of any punter this season. The Atlanta native who was signed as an undrafted free agent last season is netting nearly 39 yards per punt this season including knocking two punts back to inside the 20.
Cole takes great pride in having the title of being "the last kicker for the Oakland Raiders and the first kicker for the Las Vegas Raiders." The legacy the punter position for the Raiders organization carries great weight behind Hall of Famer Ray Guy and 6-time All-Pro Shane Lechler. Cole knows he has huge shoes to fill and couldn't be happier to do so.
"There might be certain teams that don't really care too much about the punter, but I feel that there's a lot of fans out there that really are informed and really care about the punter position because the Raiders have had the best in history at the position," said AJ Cole.
"I'm just excited to have the opportunity to represent this organization week in and week out."