Colquitt Might Be Kansas City's Best Weapon

After Sunday's game at Denver, Warpaint Illustrated's Mike Nugent and myself talked about the performance of Dustin Colquitt. We agreed that it might have been the single best performance by a Chiefs punter in the history of the Chiefs. Without a doubt, the star of the young 2006 season has been last year's third-round pick. At this rate, Colquitt could eventually become the league's best punter.

Not many people understand how hard it is to punt the football in the NFL. Colquitt had a difficult time adjusting his style to the pro game during his rookie season. At Tennessee, he was a standout, but in his first season a year ago, his punting average dropped off from what it had been in college.

His net average dipped below the 40-yard mark, a rare occurrence for someone like Colquitt, who prides himself on lofting big, booming punts and consistently pinning opponents deep against their own endzones.

Under new head coach Herm Edwards, field position is critical. Fortunately for the Chiefs, after two games, Colquitt has shown an ability to back up opposing offenses inside the 20-yard line.

On Sunday, Colquitt took it to another level. He pinned the Broncos twice inside the five-yard line. In fact, he pinned them at the one-yard line on one occasion. Later, he executed a perfect coffin-corner punt that glided out of bounds at the three-yard line.

That punt was hopefully the start of what will eventually become a trend for Colquitt. You have to go back to Ray Guy of the Raiders and Jerrell Wilson of the Chiefs to find the last two punters in the AFC who were able to nail the corners like Colquitt did on Sunday.

"Our offense stalled twice and we knew it was really important to play field position," said Colquitt. "You want to try and get more height on the ball with wind coming from left to right. I just tried to direct it that way."

If Colquitt can stay in this zone, he'll make the Pro Bowl. His maturation under new special teams coach Mike Priefer is evident. If Priefer could get his special teams units to block better for Dante Hall, then he'd really have something, but that's for another column.

Regardless, Colquitt is in a groove right now. After shaking off one poor punt against the Bengals last weekend, Colquitt has been almost flawless the rest of the way. He averaged almost 47 yards per punt against the Broncos, and his success had little to do with the thin Mile High air. Facing a stiff wind in the fourth quarter, Colquitt sliced into the breeze and launched what I thought was his best punt of the game.

Going into this game, Colquitt and the Chiefs desperately needed a way to help their offense. They had to lengthen the field of play for the Broncos, and they did just that.

"We knew with our game plan that we were going to run the ball," said Colquitt. "That hidden yardage can always give you an advantage in the game."

As the Chiefs prepare for their remaining 14 games, opposing special teams coaches are going to have to prepare that much harder for KC's newest weapon. Top Stories