(This is the third part of the following article)
Special teams is an area where the Broncos have been, well, special in the past.
With such good kickers as Rick Karlis and Jason Elam, you could always count on Denver coming away with three points at the opposing team's 40 yard line. Matt Prater is the kicker of the future and shows great promise. Bret Kern is a solid punter and commands $500,000 to $1 milion less then the much touted Todd Sauerbrun.
If your defense or offense is having a rough day, a good special teams can help your football out of a jam every Sunday.
Prater has a very powerful leg, but is having problems with his accuracy as of late. He ended the 2008 season with a 73.5 FG percentage.
Interestingly so, the bulk of Prater's misses came from field-goal tries between 40 to 49 yards, but he was 5-for-6 in FG tries from over 50 yards.
Luck? I think it's more of an experience issue.
Compare kicking field-goals to making a putt on the green at pebble beach. As easy as it should be, it takes an extreme amount of concentration to put that little white ball into that big black hole.
Such is the same for field goal kicking. I think Prater will get even better each year. Focus and maturity comes with age. The Broncos' kicking game will be reliable and Prater will come out with a much better field goal percentage this year. I predict 85 percent or better.
Kern ended last season with a 46.7 yard average per punt. He was ranked in the NFL among the top five punters.
Kern presents a real value to the Broncos. Being able to push an opposing offense back near 50 yards to start with, gives your defense a lot of breathing room. I look for Kern to keep up the good work and possibly get better each year.
The Broncos were ranked 22nd overall in average kick return yards with 21.8 and they ranked 13 in average punt return yards with 9.8.
Eddie Royal is the top return guy for our team and looks to keep his starting position this year. Averaging 26.1 kick return yards and 10 punt return yards, Royal was easily at the top of the individual statistics boards in the NFL.
Hopefully he will continue with his success and add to his rookie year success. JJ Arrington has also been touted as a return specialist and should be able to help boost the Broncos' overall rank for return in the NFL.