The Denver Broncos travel to meet the Kansas City Chiefs this week. The Chiefs have a 1-9 record and will finish the 2012 season below .500. There are plenty of reasons why their record is what it is, but Special Teams is not one of them.
Kansas City has had better than average Special Teams Units for quite awhile and this year’s is no exception. However, the Broncos have an outstanding Unit this year and will hold the edge for this game. Pro Football Focus has Denver as the 2nd ranked Special Teams Unit overall and Kansas City at 26th. Meanwhile, Football Outsiders has the Broncos at 11th and the Chiefs 20th.
I know what you’re thinking. It looks like a large disparity, but in reality, a few yards either way and the gap would narrow tremendously. Read on and see for yourself.
Ryan Succop handles the Field Goal and Kickoff duties for the Chiefs. He is a 4th year veteran and at 6-2, 218 lbs. he has enough size to make a few Tackles and isn’t merely Window candy. Succop is 20-of-23 for 87% this season in Field Goal Attempts. His Longest was a 52-yarder and shy of his career-best 54 yards. Ryan is a perfect 12-for-12 on Extra Point tries.
His Kickoffs average landing area is around the 6 yard line. Succop has kicked off 40 times with 17 touchbacks. 20 have been returned for a 24.2 average.
Brother of Denver’s Punter Britton, Dustin Colquitt takes care of Kansas City’s punting chores and holds for Ryan Succop on Field Goal Attempts. Britton’s older brother has been the better punter in the past, but the kid has surpassed his elder in recent years. In 2012, Dustin has punted 49 times with a gross average of 46.1 yards and a Net of 40.8 yards. He has placed 27 of those Inside the 20 yard line, 10 have been Downed, 5 went Out of Bounds, 3 went for touchbacks, 11 were Fair Caught and 20 were returned an average of 9.95 yards. The Chiefs allowed an 88-yard Punt Return Touchdown to Leodis McKelvin during the 3rd Quarter of Week 2’s game in Buffalo. Not to take anything away from McKelvin, who has 2 Return Touchdowns this year, but Kansas City’s Coverage Unit stunk it up on that play and one would think that 2 months later, that problem has been addressed. Needless to say, Denver’s Trindon Holliday is faster than McKelvin and will burn any Unit in the league if they slack off.
Javier Arenas has handled nearly all the Punt Returns for the Chiefs this season, fielding 27 punts and returning them an average of 9.6 yards. He has called for a Fair Catch twice and his longest went 27 yards.Terrance Copper, Steve Breaston and Dexter McCluster have fielded one punt apiece.
Shaun Draughn has done the main portion of Kick Returns for Kansas City, with 19 returns for a 22.8 average and a long of 41 yards. Javier Arenas has returned 9 an average of 19.7 yards and Devon Wylie, 3 for a 22.7 yard average. As a team, the Chiefs average 22.0 yards on their Kick Returns.
5th year man Thomas Gafford is the Long Snapping Specialist for the Chiefs. The 6-2, 250 lb. 29-year old out of Houston was signed off the street in 2006 by the Green Bay Packers. Gafford bounced around the Practice Squads of the Seahawks, Packers and Bears before signing with the Chiefs in October, 2008 after long snapper J. P. Darche was placed on Injured Reserve. He has appeared in 67 career games with 15 Special Teams Tackles and one Fumble Recovery on punt coverage.
Edgar Jones and Cory Greenwood lead all Chiefs Special Teamers with 6 stops each.
Brandon Siler and Jalil Brown have 4 each and Cyrus Gray, Shaun Draughn and Andy Studebaker each have 3 Tackles. Jones is their best coverage guy.
That should prepare you for Sunday’s game.
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