the study of the kicking components within sports

Thursday, August 12, 2010

AFC West Training Camps: Specialists

Denver Broncos
Heading into 2010, the Broncos had a question at only one of their specialist positions. They already knew that Lonie Paxton was their long snapper and that Matt Prater was their kicker. Heading into training camp, they have already presumably answered the punter question. Although he lost out on the punting job last preseason, Britton Colquitt was resigned late in the year. In this year’s minicamps he competed with A.J. Trapasso (of 2009 first preseason TD and hitting the video screen fame). Trapasso has since been released. Colquitt has since noted, "I feel more confident, but at the same time, it's not about who you're going against. It's still you're going against yourself."

Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs do not have any competition at the specialist spots. The returning starters will spend camp getting in their reps and honing their synchronization under the tutelage of special teams coordinator (and kicking guru) Steve Hoffman. Long snapper Thomas Gafford is back for his third year. The veteran of the trio, punter and holder Dustin Colquitt is entering his sixth year. Kicker Ryan Succop is looking to pick up on the success if his rookie season last year, "I was blessed with a great year and a great opportunity. I'm very thankful for that…. I took advantage of it. Now, I've got to build upon that."

Oakland Raiders
The Raiders enter training camp as one of the few teams to carry a camp leg – beat writer favorite, Swayze Waters. How long into August they retain his services is the only question relating to their specialists. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski heads into 2010 coming off a strong 2009, for which he was rewarded with a new lucrative four-year deal that made him the highest paid kicker in the league. Punter Shane Lechler had already received his comparable payday the year before. While we’re on the topic of Al Davis’ checkbook, long snapper Jon Condo received and signed a restricted free-agent one-year tender during the offseason.

San Diego Chargers
Although kicker Nate Kaeding is coming off a stellar 2009 regular season, his 2010 got off to rough start with the three missed FGs in playoff game and then a groin injury. In camp and preseason he’ll want to show that there are no lingering effects from either. Nick Novak was signed to handle spring kicking chores after Kaeding’s injury and remains on the roster heading into camp. Also still on the roster is punter Cort Johnson, who was out of football last year. He noted, "I graduated in 2008, so I put my life on hold turned down some jobs to pursue my dream. I definitely have the heart and determination to do it. It was a great sacrifice to put my life on hold, to train on my own, to spend money of my own -- money that sometimes I didn't have -- just to get noticed." He’ll serve as a camp leg to ease the load on starting punter Mike Scifres. David Binn is the lone long snapper on the roster.

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