1. A special kind of player
The Raiders have a long history of having great punters with Ray Guy and Shane Lechler spotlighting the list. In his third season with the Raiders, AJ Cole is sneaking his way into that spotlight.
Cole has been having a stellar season, as he currently leads the league in yards per punt (53). He's also second in the league in total punt yardage (1,430) and has the second-longest punt this season at 71 yards. When you add in his 12 punts inside the 20, it's hard to find a punter who's had a better start so far then Cole.
After Sunday's victory, Interim Head Coach and special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said Cole played "outstanding." Hard to imagine him not continuing to find success through the season.
2. New kid on the block
The 2013 first-round pick has stacked up a successful resume for himself with 14 interceptions and 84 passes defensed in the 105 games he's played. Despite just arriving in Las Vegas, he's already made an impact in practice, and according to Gus Bradley, he will see some playing time this Sunday against the Eagles.
"He's another one that his skillset, I think, is really good," said Bradley. "We watched him from afar for many years and really liked him and when a situation like we are in, the ability for that recall and understanding, some of the things we are doing defensively. Obviously, there is maybe a little bit different terminology, but he understands the system to where on short notice he can come in and make it look like football."
3. 20 mph club
I know I've said this a couple of time before, but Henry Ruggs III is really damn fast.
The speedy receiver has been lighting defenses up this year. According to Next Gen Stats, Ruggs has a league leading 11 snaps in which he reached at least 20 mph while running. He is also the Raiders' receiving yards leader so far this season.
"Henry Ruggs is always a topic about not necessarily a turnaround, but just how he's come out of his shell this year in terms of the communication with the quarterbacks and what he's doing on the practice field and his extra work habits and preparation in the film room," said offensive coordinator Greg Olson. "He's just a different guy. Not that he was a bad studier or a guy that didn't prep very well last year, it's just that he's taken it to a new level this season and so it's been really encouraging to watch."
Moral of the story: don't challenge Henry Ruggs III to a race.
4) Needle in a hay stack
It's impossible to find footage of someone scoring a touchdown on Casey Hayward Jr. this season. Why? It hasn't occurred.
Hayward has been playing some of his best football this season, as he's not allowed a single touchdown in 237 coverage snaps. He's also only allowed 87 receiving yards, according to PFF. He's not only playing at a high level, he's brought a veteran presence to the young Raiders secondary.
"It's a young group back there and I think he brings a sense of calm to them," said Bradley. "Some of maybe the issues that come up in some of our coverage principles, he'll say, 'No, no, no. We've seen it before. Here's how we'll handle it and we'll be good.' So, he brings that sense of calm I think to the whole group where they really trust that we've seen that before and we can get that done."
5. Road closure on Wall Street?
Darren Waller is an elite tight end, and Darius Slay is an elite cornerback.
Waller has drawn the toughest matchup on the season from opposing secondaries with the size and skillset he brings to the field. While Darius Slay will probably see a lot of snaps on the likes of Ruggs and Hunter Renfrow, his main responsibilities will likely be trying to shut down Waller on National Tight End Day.
While the star tight end is currently averaging 5.5 receptions a game this season, Slay has not allowed more than two catches to any receiver he's covered this season. So get your popcorn out for this one.
6. Big trust
Both were signed to add depth and Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia found it imperative to get them involved after they both had a good week of practice. Square had three quarterback hits, two tackles and 0.5 sacks, while Facyson had three tackles, two pass deflections and an interception.
"I think with both of them, there is a lot of trust. We know exactly what we are getting from them," said Bradley, who coached both players during his time with the Los Angeles Chargers. "Damion Square is extremely intelligent, understands what he does well at and is just really a student of the game. A guy that puts a lot of time into studying film and there is just complete trust with him out there. Facyson, that is a guy because of his length I think that's what stood out to us about him and he came in and did a really good job for us in a time that we needed him to."
With how both of these former Chargers played against the Broncos, they will probably once again get a lot of snaps this Sunday against the Eagles.
The Silver and Black hit the practice field as they prepare for their Week 7 matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles at Allegiant Stadium.