For the longest time, the Raiders organization had one of the best kicker and punter duos in the league in Sebastian Janikowski and Shan Lechler.
Both are now retired and headed for Canton, but it seems the Raiders have found perhaps their next great duo in kicker Daniel Carlson and punter AJ Cole.
Carlson has made nearly 92% of his kicks this season, making him one of the most reliable kickers in the league. Cole is netting almost 39 yards per punt this season, which is also one of the highest marks in the league.
Despite the success he has had this season, Carlson is continuing to keep the right mindset by taking things one day at a time, via Levi Edwards of Raiders.com:
“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 and Cole were able to work out together in the offseason and seem to be building a close relationship:
“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.
It seems that Carlson and Cole are using each other’s success as motivation to be even better, which is great for Raider fans to see. Cole is aware of how much they value having a good punter due to Lechler’s greatness so he is doing his best to follow in his footsteps:
“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.”
Special teams has been a struggle for the Raiders at times in recent years so it is good to see they’re getting some of that figured out. If Carlson and Cole continue to produce at the level they have this season then both will likely be in Raiders uniforms for many years to come.