It can not go on like this, Tom McMahon.
That, in a nutshell, was the message Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio not directly delivered via the media to his particular groups coordinator on the conclusion of Tuesday’s coaching camp observe.
“We didn’t play good the opposite evening towards Seattle,” Fangio stated. “They took it to us fairly good. Our return recreation is up within the air as we’ve talked about right here earlier than so we have to, by the point we play Oakland, have some readability there. We should not have any but. I like the way in which [K Brandon] McManus is kicking the ball. We had an off-night punting the ball the opposite evening. Though the stats didn’t naked it out, he had a superb roll one time they usually had a bunch of penalties of their return recreation which statistically skewed the manufacturing of the punter. Hopefully that was only a one-game factor.”
Certainly, Denver’s particular groups unit was noticeably substandard in its 22-14 loss to the Seahawks. It’s fascinating he factors to punter Colby Wadman, who averaged 46.7 yards on three boots, together with a 52-yarder — and who’s a favourite of McMahon’s. Technically, he outkicked rising Seattle stud Michael Dickson (45.3-yard common on six punts).
However its different elements had been beneath common, as effectively. The protection items failed to take care of hole accountability, permitting a 34-yard kick return, and the Broncos’ personal returners didn’t present any spark. That is notably a priority on punt returns, the place vast receivers Nick Williams, River Cracraft and Kelvin McKnight mixed for a whopping 5 yards on 5 returns.
How shut is Fangio to calling that competitors?
“Not shut,” he stated
The Ultimate Punt-Returner
For no matter purpose, the Broncos are incapable of discovering somebody to cleanly and persistently area footballs kicked into the air. The Isaiah McKenzie experiment was an epic failure, and cornerback-turned-receiver Brendan Langley hasn’t labored out this summer time, muffing a punt within the opener towards the Bears — eerie shades of McKenzie’s butterfingers.
Fangio isn’t in search of the subsequent Dante Corridor and even Trindon Holliday. Only a heat physique with positive arms who can doubtlessly common a primary down per return. And the surer, the higher.
“Yeah. We’d like that,” he stated. “We positively wish to have that however the first job of a punt returner by far is the flexibility to catch the ball as a result of most punts go between 40 and 45 yards within the air, 48 yards. Should you drop it that’s an enormous turnover in area place, in order that’s job one. Job two clearly we’d wish to have a man that may do one thing with the ball again there.”
Regardless of the NFL tinkering with kickoffs, a haphazard shift dressed up within the title of participant security, many groups are driving the ball throughout the five-yard line, not far sufficient to cut back returns and the associating risks.
Fangio admits the Broncos are among the many majority, with kicker Brandon McManus recording zero touchbacks towards the Seahawks, his kicks touchdown at or close to the aim line. There’s an obvious methodology to the insanity.
“What’s occurring in preseason is groups are doing that as a result of they wish to see their guys cowl,” he stated. “It’s an analysis factor. We’re doing the identical factor. We may have [K Brandon McManus] kick it via the tip zone most likely a few of these kickoffs we’ve had, however we wish to see our guys cowl and we wish to consider as a result of even when you’ve got a robust kicker there will probably be some climate video games late within the season the place he can’t get it via the tip zone. That’s a part of it, however then there are—if a workforce doesn’t concern your return recreation they’ll attempt to drop it in to the one, two or three-yard line and see if you may get previous the 25 if they’ll get you contained in the 20. So it’s two-fold.”
READ NEXT: Broncos Security Rips ‘Responsible’ Redskins in Epic Twitter Rant
Observe Zack Kelberman on Twitter @KelbermanNFL