Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus (8) kicks a field goal as punter Britton Colquitt (4) holds in the first quarter against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
So far, everything for Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus has been ‘so good.’ McManus was acquired by the Broncos via trade with the New York Giants in the preseason after it was learned that incumbent Matt Prater would be suspended four games for violating the league’s alcohol abuse policy.
Prater apologized for letting his team and teammates down, but the Broncos weren’t going to simply sign someone off the streets. They knew about Prater’s appeal with the league, and had been scouting kickers around the rest of the league and the competition going on with the Giants was one they monitored closely.
When it was reported that McManus had lost the job to Josh Brown, the Broncos traded for him instead of try and get him through a waiver claim since so many other teams were in the market at the time. The big-legged kicker out of Temple has done well so far this season, making all three of his field goal attempts from inside 30 yards, and hitting on every extra point while also hitting 14 touchbacks on 16 kickoffs.
It’s been a job well done for McManus, who has one more week to either convince the Broncos that he’s better than Matt Prater, or that he’s worth keeping around in some capacity or another. There’s no question that Prater’s play seemed to be affected in the Super Bowl and then in the preseason a bit after missing only one kick all of last season on his way to a Pro Bowl selection.
The Broncos also now run the risk if Prater messes up again, that they could lose him for quite a length of time. Certainly, if Prater were to be let go by the Broncos, he’d be picked up by some other team and would probably be their kicker for the next however many years. It seems unlikely the Broncos will keep McManus over Prater but the financial repercussions of that move could save the Broncos quite a bit of green.
Like I said, it’s not likely, but it’s a situation to manage. This is the fourth game the Broncos will have McManus as their kicker, and so far even in three games decided by a touchdown or less, McManus hasn’t been called upon in a really clutch situation. Prater’s suspension will be lifted after the Broncos’ game against the Cardinals, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens.