ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Brandon McManus is like many young kickers who stumble in the NFL before finding a foothold. What separates him from most is that he’s playing for a team on a Super Bowl-or-bust mission.
So, clanking a 33-yard field goal attempt off the right upright like he did in Denver’s 39-36 squeaker over Miami on Sunday might just cost him.
“We’re a performance-based business and regardless of what your job description is you’re expected to perform,” coach John Fox said Monday. “I don’t think he’s the worst kicker in the league by any stretch.”
Actually, McManus’ 69.2 percent conversion rate (9-of-13) this season is dead last among kickers who still have a job in the NFL.
“I don’t know that there are a whole lot of kickers that have made every kick this season,” Fox said. “Whether you are a rookie or a 12-year veteran, you are still expected to perform. That doesn’t matter what position.”
McManus’ miss came at the end of Denver’s seven-minute drive to open the second half after Peyton Manning tripped on third-and-1 from the Miami 7 for a sack.
“I can’t really say what I was thinking,” Fox said before adding: “It’s no different than when I watch somebody fumble the ball or watch us miss a tackle or watch us not get the ball out on a tight pass play. I think those are everybody’s emotions as you play a football game whether it’s fans, teammates or coaching staff. You are trying to win; you’re competitive.
“You are probably disappointed you didn’t get seven, let alone drive all that way and not get any points,” Fox said. “I can understand some frustration.”
The Broncos decided to keep McManus in October following Matt Prater‘s four-game suspension for violating the league’s drug policy by drinking alcohol. Prater subsequently signed with Detroit, where he’s made 12 of 16 field goal attempts.
Feely, 38, is a 13-year veteran who’s kicked for five teams. He was beaten out by Chandler Catanzaro for Arizona’s kicking job last summer, ending his four-year stint with the Cardinals. He’s also played for the Falcons, Giants, Dolphins and Jets and has made 82.7 percent of his kicks in his career.
Barth, 28, is a five-year veteran who’s made 84.2 percent of his career field goal tries but hasn’t played since 2012. He was the most accurate kicker in Buccaneers history but missed all of last season after tearing the Achilles tendon in his right foot during a charity basketball game. He was replaced this year by rookie Patrick Murray.
If the Broncos sign Feely or Barth, they might still keep McManus for kickoff duty – his 48 touchbacks rank second in the league – although that could prove difficult given all of their injuries.
Tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) and running backs Ronnie Hillman (foot) and Montee Ball (groin) sat out Sunday, when three defensive players were injured. Cornerbacks Aqib Talib (hamstring) and Kayvon Webster (dislocated right shoulder) went out along with linebacker Brandon Marshall (concussion).
The Broncos finished Sunday’s game with safety/special teams stud Omar Bolden at cornerback. He had a pair of tackles and averaged 33.3 yards on three kickoff returns.
“He does everything,” cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said.
Marshall, the Broncos’ leading tackler, must clear concussion protocol this week in order to play at Kansas City (7-4) Sunday night.
“I’m hoping for Brandon to be healthy, because we definitely need him,” Harris said. “This game is going to be a lot of base, so we expect them to try to come out and run the ball. So we’re going to need all our linebackers this game. It’s pivotal this week.”
Notes: LB Danny Trevathan (broken left knee) returns to practice this week to begin preparations for his return to action Dec. 14 against the Chargers … The Dolphins had three fumbles on one drive Sunday but recovered all of them. “We’re still waiting for the ball to bounce right,” Fox said.
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– By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)