Isaiah McKenzie solves major problem for the Denver Broncos
The Denver Broncos have had a significant problem in the punt return department really since Trindon Holliday left. Isaiah McKenzie helps solve that…
As much as I love the unknown of the NFL offseason, predicting what will happen in free agency and the draft and looking at all the possibilities, I hate hypotheticals when it comes to looking at an NFL team in retrospect. The Denver Broncos were 9-7 last year but could have easily won 10 or 11 games last season, and lost fumbles on punt returns are a major reason why they didn’t.
Jordan Norwood, the record-setting return man in Super Bowl 50, had five fumbles all his own last season. Kalif Raymond added another pair of fumbles, giving the Broncos a whopping seven from their two primary return men, which is downright unacceptable.
Enter Isaiah McKenzie, whom new special teams coordinator Brock Olivo called a ‘natural’ catcher of the football on punt returns.
The expectations for the fifth round rookie out of Georgia are already unfairly high based on the hype he’s received coming out of OTAs, but what he was specifically drafted for is an area where he can be an immediate difference maker for the Broncos.
More from Predominantly Orange
- Broncos chances of landing Sean Payton dwindling, but not gone
- Denver Broncos dream coaching staff for DeMeco Ryans
- Denver Broncos: “Sleeper” David Shaw checks every box
- The Broncos’ coaching search likely has not gone to plan
- Special Chiefs Suck Offer: Bet $5, Win $150 if Joe Burrow Passes for ONE YARD vs KC
McKenzie will contribute offensively, of course, but perhaps the biggest problem the Broncos solved by drafting him is getting someone who just understands how to catch punts.
It may seem a little overly simple, but it’s an area the Broncos have really not had anyone capable in years. As much as Trindon Holliday struggled in that regard, at least he provided the Broncos with a spark in the return game when he was able to catch the ball.
Now, the Broncos have someone in McKenzie who is explosive and elusive in the open field, but first and foremost, he can catch the ball. It was infuriating to watch the Broncos’ punt return unit the past couple of seasons. Penalties on almost every return and fumbles seemingly on every other have been major momentum shifting plays for this team.
If the Broncos are finally able to rely on special teams as a strength, which looks like a decent possibility this year, they should have no problem getting into the playoffs.