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Raiders Outlook 2023: Despite swap at long snapper, synergy remains in kicking game

Preseason proved no drop off with Jacob Bobenmoyer snapping to AJ Cole and Daniel Carlson

NFL: Preseason-Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys
Las Vegas Raiders place kicker Daniel Carlson (2) is congratulated by teammates after drilling a 62-yard field goal against the Dallas Cowboys this past Saturday.
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The special team battery on an NFL team is akin to a well-oiled logistics unit. At its essence, it’s shipping and receiving. The long snapper delivers the ball to the holder, who spots it properly for the place kicker or ships the ball to the punter for the boot.

The Las Vegas Raiders made a shift in their special teams batter this offseason when out went Trent Sieg and in came Jacob Bobenmoyer at long snapper. The synergy built between the snapper, punter, and place kicker can’t be understated. The Raiders’ AJ Cole and Daniel Carlson built that with Sieg. And the punter and kicker, respectively, worked diligently this offseason to build that with Bobenmoyer.

But as the preseason proved, the trio of Cole, Carlson, and Bobenmoyer are in sync. Carlson doesn’t drill a 62-yard field goal in the exhibition finale against the Dallas Cowboys last Saturday without the special teams operation being dialed in. The boot even had room to be from further out, perhaps even 65 yards.

Carlson was even asked about the amount of field goals he attempted during the preseason slate (eight) and if it were too much. The kicker’s answer wasn’t surprising.

“Sometimes, it’s a very selfish world. I always got to be like hoping for a chance to get a field goal and expecting to make that to help the team. That’s the best way I can help team,” Carlson said during the post game press conference against the Cowboys. “Whenever I do end up out there, whether the drive stalls out or an extra point, I’ve got to take advantage of that. Whether it’s too many field goals, hopefully those can add up…those three points. Obviously, we want more extra points in the long run, especially when the regular season hits.”

Through field goals and extra point attempts, the trio of Bobenmoyer, Cole, and Carlson are integral. Bobenmoyer snapping the ball, Cole catching it and placing it properly, and Carlson booting the ball between the goal posts.

Cole, in fact, is on the receiving end of two distinct snaps from the Raiders new snapper. The punter serves as holder on field goals and PATs and receives the ball on his punting attempts.

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas Raiders punter AJ Cole handles the snaps from longsnapper Jacob Bobenmoyer on both field goals and punts.
Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images

Cole got plenty of work in during the preseason slate as he punted a total of nine times — the highest was a five-boot effort against the San Francisco 49ers in the exhibition opener. Back before the offseason kicked into high gear, Cole spoke about the difference between Sieg and Bobenmoyer was the latter is a southpaw so the snaps spun differently. But the plan is always the same: Build rapport.

“We spend a lot of time together. We eat breakfast together, we eat lunch together, so I’m just getting to know him,” Cole said back in OTAs. “Getting to learn about who he is, where he’s from, all those type of things. And I think that’s real important. I’m a big believer in camaraderie (and) vibes, and I think that translates to on the field production.”

Through the trio of preseason games, the translation is crystal clear: The trio of special teamers are on the same page. That must ring true during the regular season, too. But the repetition Bobenmoyer, Cole, and Carlson had in the offseason through training camp suggest they’ll be all good when games matter.

What seemed like unnecessary tinkering with an already elite special teams battery is nothing more than water under the bridge as the group is operating seamlessly with the new long snapper in tow.