DENVER, Colo. - The Mile High debut of punter/kicker Micah Knorr was far from what the three-year veteran had imagined.
It was also far from what Mike Shanahan and the Broncos coaching staff had imagined as well.
After releasing long time punter Tom Rouen, the Broncos were looking for someone they could count on to trap the opposition deep in their own zone, giving coverage units ample time to stop any measurable return.
During kickoffs the Broncos looked for Knorr to drive it as deep as possible, hopefully through the end zone of the thin Colorado air, eliminating any runbacks at all.
Neither Knorr nor the Broncos got what they had hoped for.
In three punts, Knorr averaged 37-yards, sending two of the three inside the twenty-yard line. His third punt traveled 33-yards, giving Oakland prime field position at their own 37-yard line.
In contrast Oakland punter Shane Lechler averaged 47.5 yards, sending one 55-yards that landed out of bounds and one into the end zone for a touchback.
On kickoffs Knorr opened the game with a 60-yard boot that traveled out of bounds, giving Oakland possession on their own 40-yard line. His next two kicks fared slightly better, both traveling 64-yards to the Raiders six-yard line.
Oakland's counterpart, Sebastian Janikowski, had a busy night with a total of seven kickoffs, four of which traveled 70+yards (74,71,70,70), one of 65-yards and two in the 50+yard range (51,52). Of the seven kicks, five landed in the Broncos end zone for touchbacks while the other two fell within the 20-yard line.
In comparison, Knorr was schooled by both Janikowski and Lechler, falling far short of expectations as Rouen's replacement.
While it wouldn't be fair to judge Knorr's first performance as reflective of what he may be capable of throughout the rest of the season, the question remains as to the wisdom alienating both Rouen and Elam with a 37-yard per punt average.
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Micah Knorr's Mile High debut
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