In The Spotlight - Paul Ernster

Denver Broncos kicker Paul Ernster took some time out of his busy schedule to answer questions submitted by Broncos Update viewers. Check out our exclusive new feature - "In The Spotlight"

In only his second year, Paul Ernster assumed full time kicking duties for the Broncos with the release of Todd Sauerbraun. Currently Ernster ranks first in the NFL in kickoffs, with a 68.5 yard per kick average and second in the league with twenty touchbacks.

Drafted by the Broncos in the seventh round of the 2005 draft, Ernster began last season as the team's kickoff specialist, kicking off three times for 163 yards (54.3 avg.) with a long of 65-yards in the season opener at Miami. His success was short lived however - the former Northern Arizona Lumberjack tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee just prior to the teams' Monday Night matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs and was placed on the teams' injured reserve list on Sept. 28. Ernster spent the rest of his rookie year rehabilitating the injury at the team's training facility.

Paul Ernster - Q & A

What pre-game rituals do you do and see in the locker room that some would consider odd? I heard that Jason Elam covers his kicking foot in some type of oil before every game, is there something you do?

One of the things that some would consider odd is when Bradlee Van Pelt was here he used to do some sort of yoga/meditation ritual before the games. Jason and I both use some creams but we usually put them on our legs, they work kinda like flexall.

What has been the focus on special teams given the latest struggles in field position? How do you and the coverage units try to overcome the problems?

Well, the focus has been to get better and improve every game. We just try to be more prepared for the game watching extra game film to try and eliminate the little mistakes that lose yardage.

What is the atmosphere in the locker room like right now with all the injuries and qb controversies? I hope you guys are keeping your heads up because right up ahead is the playoffs.

The atmosphere is fine, we are all just trying to do what it takes to win.

Does altitude make much of a difference for punters? Also I'm hoping that the Broncos offense will get in sync soon, so that you won't have to punt so much from deep in your own territory. Good luck the rest of the season!

The altitude makes a little difference, but at my position if you hit a good punt or kick it doesn't matter where you're at, it will travel. You may notice the difference on the punts or kicks you don't hit as well.

Have your teammates given you a lot of smack over forgetting your helmet in the Seattle game?

Yeah, its kinda been the joke of the team. Its all been in good fun though and I expect that I will never hear the end of it.

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