Sep 7, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos kicker Brandon McManus (8) during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Up until today’s news that Matt Prater was released from the Denver Broncos, kicker Brandon McManus has probably just been ‘that guy filling in’ to the majority of Broncos fans. Well, it’s time to get re-acquainted, because McManus is not only the Broncos’ temporary solution at kicker, he’s a long-term replacement for Prater and the hand-selected player at a critical position by John Elway.
As if the pressure weren’t already enough.
The Broncos made a trade with the New York Giants after the third week of the preseason when it was learned that Prater would be suspended for four games to start the year, and the compensation of that trade was contingent upon McManus being on the roster after four games of the season. So, the Broncos now have to send a draft pick to New York, which isn’t a big deal because they’re going to likely recoup that pick in the form of a compensatory selection anyway.
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The Broncos’ confidence in McManus is pretty impressive. Not only did he stand out among every other available kicker when the Broncos had to take action and bring someone in for regular season action, but he also won the job while Prater was gone, impressing the Broncos with his touchback rate and clearly ability in practice played into it as well.
“He’s real consistent and has a really strong leg.” Britton Colquitt, Broncos Punter
McManus is in his first year of NFL kicking after going undrafted in 2013 out of Temple. He didn’t have the most prestige of any kicker coming out of college, but since coming into the NFL he’s been able to improve his accuracy and has shown an absolutely booming leg. He was also a dual punter and kicker in college, so if the Broncos ever needed him in an emergency punting situation, there’s that.
McManus is a good player, but the Broncos are taking a leap of faith. They admitted as much. That doesn’t mean this kid doesn’t have ability, and they are making an uneducated guess. They know what they’ve seen in games, in practice, in scouting prior to making the trade for him. Britton Colquitt, who is Matt Prater’s good friend, knows the frailty of playing in the NFL. He also knows a good kicker when he sees one.
"“He’s good,” Colquitt said of McManus. “We’ve seen him in practice. I guess it got to the point where they’ve seen enough in the game and they’ve seen a lot in practice. He’s real consistent and has a really strong leg.”"
Time will tell if this was a smart decision or not, but the Broncos feel confident they made the right one.