Broncos special teams have been sneaky great so far


It was an area of concern in the preseason, but the Denver Broncos’ special teams has been sneaky great so far this season, providing consistency through the first 2 games.

In the preseason, we saw blown coverages by the return units, muffed punts, missed field goals, and poor punting. We saw no clarity at the return positions and really felt pretty bad about this unit as a whole. Those worries have been squashed at least for the moment as Brandon McManus and Britton Colquitt have been extremely productive.

McManus, in particular, has done a phenomenal job answering the bell after a poor 1st season with the team in which he was originally acquired by trade, later waived, placed on the practice squad, and then again put on the active roster just to kick the ball off.

Now developed into a heck of a field goal kicker, McManus is off to a roaring start with three field goals of beyond 50 yards in the first two games. He was 0-2 from that range last season.

His points have been a major difference in the Broncos’ first two victories, and his kickoffs have been great as well. Pro Football Focus has graded him as a +6.9 overall through the games the Broncos have played, and 10 of his 12 kickoffs have gone for touchbacks.

Another player that I have to give a lot of credit to is Britton Colquitt, who has had a couple of poor kicks but for the most part has been excellent for the Broncos this year, flipping field position with an average punt of nearly 48 yards and a net of almost 44. That means that not only is Colquitt doing a great job of getting the ball downfield, he’s also getting good air under the ball and the coverage units have plenty of time to race down the field.

Three of his punts have been downed inside the 20-yard line and the coverage units have been very solid. Bennie Fowler leads the team’s Pro Football Focus grading, but I’ve noticed guys like Shaq Barrett, Juwan Thompson, and David Bruton have made solid contributions as well.

This is great to see after a rough start in the preseason, especially as clutch as McManus has been. He may not stay perfect all season, but he’s earned a vote of confidence from me and I think the team is really pleased with the decision he’s made. It’s not every day a huge leg like this comes along to give your team a major weapon in the kicking game, both on field goals and kicking off.

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