Stock up: A.J. Cole
A.J. Cole entered training camp with a battle for the punting duties. Cole and Johnny Townsend competed throughout camp practices and split time in the preseason opener. Days after the first preseason game, the Raiders waived Johnny Townsend, making Cole the only punter on the roster at this time.
Cole got the full load of action on Thursday’s game when he punted five times, dropping three punts inside the 20-yard line and averaged 49.4-yards per punt. To put in perspective how well he produced, that 49.4 average would rank first among NFL punting statistics in last years rankings. Last season the Raiders ranked last in the NFL with 43.2-yards per punt.
It’s still early to judge Cole’s punting ability, but so far he’s exceeded last year’s production. He’s giving the defense better position to stop opposing offenses and he can really flip the field with his big leg.