By Justin Adams
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – With the Denver Broncos training camp underway, let’s take a look at each position. Here’s how the Broncos look at the special teams.
In the Hunt:
Brandon McManus, 6th season (Kicker)
Taylor Bertolet, rookie (Kicker)
Colby Wadman, 2nd season (Punter)
Casey Kreiter, 4th season (Long snapper)
Projected Starters: Brandon McManus, Colby Wadman, Casey Kreiter
Brandon McManus is back for his sixth season with the Broncos after rebounding from a rough season in 2017. Colby Wadman is set for his first full season as Denver’s punter. He took over for an injured Marquette King after the fifth game of the season. The Broncos re-signed Pro Bowl long snapper Casey Kreiter to a one-year, $1 million in the offseason.
Best Training Camp Battle:
The Broncos enter training camp with two kickers on the roster in what could potentially be one of the sneakiest training camp battles. Brandon McManus has been Denver’s kicker for the past five seasons. He was 20/25, missing all five kicks from beyond 50 yards last year. McManus will face off against Taylor Bertolet who’s looking to finally catch on with a team since he entered the NFL as a college free agent in 2016 with the Los Angeles Rams.
The biggest reason for this training camp battle may not be production from McManus, but his salary. He’s set to make $2.75 million this season. Bertolet’s salary would be $495,000. If the rookie from Texas A&M could kick on par with McManus, then the Broncos could have a new starting kicker for the first time since 2014.
Under the Radar: Kick/Punt Returner
The Broncos enter training camp without a starting kick or punt returner. River Cracraft and Brendan Langley have experience as returners. Langley returned one punt and ten kickoffs in his career and Cracraft was the primary punt returner in the second half of last season.
Several players will get their shot at the positions including, Cracraft, Langley, Juwann Winfree and several other undrafted free agents. Either way, the Broncos will need better production from their returners. Last season, Denver ranked last in punt return average (4.4 yards per return) and were tied with the fifth worst kick return average (20.1 yards per return).
Stats to Know:
– The Broncos longest punt return last year was 20 yards by River Cracraft.
– The last punt return touchdown was in by Omar Bolden in 2015.
– The last kick return touchdown by Trindon Holliday in 2013.
What They Said: Special Teams Coach Tom McMahon on kicking battle
“Both of those kickers, they are competing very, very hard right now and I like what they are doing. They will just continue on. Competition is good at every position, there is no question.”
BRONCOS TRAINING CAMP: See All Of Justin Adams’ Position Breakdowns