Punter A.J. Cole is having an historic season with Raiders

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There are several players this season that have made a leap for the Raiders. Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Solomon Thomas and Andre James have all been much better this season than in previous years and are big reasons why the team is in the playoff hunt once again.

But another player that has had a career year and hasn’t gotten the respect he deserves is punter A.J. Cole.

Through 11 games, Cole leads the NFL in yards per punt at 51.2. The closest punter in the league to Cole is Bryan Anger at 49.4, which is almost two whole yards fewer than the Raiders punter. Cole isn’t just having a career season. Instead, he’s having a historic one.

Only Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh has averaged more yards per punt (51.4) than Cole. But with six games left, Cole has some time to catch him. It’s worth noting that Baugh only punted the ball 35 times that season, while Cole is already at 45 punts on the year.

Since the NFL merger in 1970, only one punter has averaged more than 51 yards per punt for an entire season. That was Shane Lechler during the 2009 season with the Raiders. As good as Lechler was during his career with the Silver and Black, Cole is actually out-producing him.

Punting is never a fun thing to do, but Cole has developed into a big weapon for the Raiders. As we saw several times in Week 12, his ability to boom punts with hangtime and pin opponents deep in their own territory allows the defense to be successful.

With six games to go, it’s clear that Cole has been the league’s best punter this season. If he can keep this pace up, he’ll have one of the best punting seasons of all time. That is quite impressive.

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