This will take much of the interest out of both games from fans, but as Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann, Jess Place, and I discussed in this weeks’ Something Something Broncos podcast, the special teams unit is one area that we should all be paying attention to in these final two games.
Chris Harris Jr. was asked about the rough special teams outing last week and made a good point about his own path to making the cut and ultimately the starting job as an undrafted player.
“I guess the kids don’t really understand this is how you make the team (laughter),” Harris said. “It’s a 53-man roster. This is how you make the team, on special teams. They might have to pull out my old clips, my old highlights from special teams my rookie year. Kind of show them how I was and then they can see. Then later on in their career they might be able to play on offense or defense.”
On the podcast, I couldn’t help but bring up former sixth-round pick and now Hall of Fame running back, Terrell Davis. In 1995 against the San Francisco 49ers, Davis made a special teams play that opened everyone’s eyes. That day in Tokyo, Japan changed the course of TD’s career and who knows if the Broncos even win those two Super Bowls without him. Probably not.
The point is, there is a player on this roster that we don’t know about that will likely one day become a solid contributor and/or multi-year starter. But for now, they need to stand out on special teams to earn that roster spot.
Fangio is looking for players that can do the job well. If you’re not a starter, this is how you get your shot. And if he comes to it, Fangio isn’t above putting starters out there to ensure they win games come Week 1.
“Everybody says, ‘Hey, you’ve got two weeks.’ Well we’ve only got five practices or whatever.,” Fangio said. “Obviously, job number one is we have to get the guys that have been out there doing it better. If need be, we’ll have to put some starters out there if it doesn’t improve which a lot of teams have done. When I was in San Francisco, NaVorro Bowman who was one of the top defensive players in the league, he was on our punt team for three straight years. It’s not unchartered waters.”
While it may be two boring and pointless games for most fans, we should all be paying attention to special teams play. Those players who do their job well in the next two games will likely save their jobs come August 31st.