Player: Britton Colquitt
Explanation: One of the longest tenured Broncos, Colquitt has become a mainstay on 4th downs with his punting skills. People forget that Manning wasn’t the only Bronco that had a family tradition of NFL success. Colquitt’s brother has been the Chiefs punter for over a decade and their father was a
punter for many years back in the 70’s and 80’s. I guess punting is something that runs in the family…
With an average of just over 45 yards per punt, Colquitt has become one of the most reliable punters in recent NFL history and was rewarded as such by the Broncos with a 3 year extension in 2013. The reason why one of the longest tenured Broncos is only considered mortar? There’s two, actually.
- He has only one year left on his contract.
- 2015 was his worst season, statistically.
In a career in which Colquitt’s average was always above 44 yards per punt, 2015 proved to be his least productive year in the category with only 43.6 yards per punt. It may not seem like much, but when you take into consideration that he was averaging around 47 yards per punt a few years ago, that looks like a player trending in the wrong direction.
One thing that may keep Colquitt’s prospects alive for the Broncos in 2016 in beyond? His excellent play in the postseason. As much as his 2015 regular season was dismal, he couldn’t have picked a better time to play the best three games of his life in the playoffs. Averaging 46.6 yards per game during that stretch, Colquitt proved to be part of the difference that the Broncos needed to make game winning plays.
Whether he can use that postseason play to fuel him for next season is for us to debate this off-season. I think that the Broncos will draft a punter or bring in another veteran to open camp, if for no other reason than to push Colquitt. Regardless of what happens moving forward, Colquitt can take solace in the fact that when the Broncos needed him to deliver at the highest stage, he did so and in impressive fashion.
Player: Brandon McManus
Explanation: One word to describe McManus this postseason… PERFECT. He was 10/10 on field goal attempts and 13/13 on overall kicks in the postseason. If you don’t think it’s a big deal, consider
this. The Broncos only won the AFC Championship game by a two point margin. The Divisional Round game against the Steelers? A 7 point game. That may not seem like a big deal, until you realize that McManus accounted for 15 of the 23 points in the Steelers game and 21 points in those two games overall.
Like the other specialists on the roster, when the Broncos needed him the most, he delivered in spades. The reason why I don’t list him as a Brick at this time is simply due to the nature of the position.
Despite having a great 2015 campaign, there’s a chance he could have a slump and struggle mightily in 2016 like he did in 2014 when he was cut and replaced by Connor Barth.
If McManus could put together another season like the one he just had, then we can have the conversation about making him a cemented member of this team. Until then, we just have to hope that the progress he made in 2015 wasn’t an anomaly.