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Broncos Specialists Expect Special Play

Posted May 15, 2013

The Broncos return one of the top special-teams units from 2012.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Last season, Matt Prater, Britton Colquitt and Trindon Holliday all left their imprint on the Broncos’ record books.

Colquitt set a franchise mark with a 42.1-yard net punting average, Prater registered a team-best 133 points scored and Holliday had the highest kick return average in Broncos annals.

“I think between the three of us, I think we definitely have potential,” Prater said of being one of the top units in the league. “Being a specialist is all about being consistent. Trindon is explosive, Britton has a big leg and I’m just trying to be more consistent like I always have in the past.”

In Denver’s playoff game against Baltimore, Holliday became the first player in NFL history to score on a kickoff and punt return touchdown in the same postseason contest. He also became one of three players in Broncos history with a touchdown on a punt return and a kickoff return in the same regular season and just the second to do so in back-to-back games.

Having gameplanned for Holliday as an opposing returner earlier in the season when the Broncos’ played the Texans, Prater was glad to be watching the NCAA 100-meter dash champion from the sideline instead of trying to chase him down on the field.

“It’s a team sport so you want to do your part to help the team win,” Prater said. “Whatever that part is—for me it’s kicking a field goal or kicking a touchback or even possibly keeping it from being a touchback so we can get them inside the 20. Having Trindon, I’m glad we’re not kicking to him anymore and he’s on our team now.”

Prater enters 2013 less than .1 percent behind Jason Elam for the franchise placekicking accuracy record – a mark he would tie if he converts his next field goal attempt.

Prater is using lessons that he learned from his brief time as Elam’s teammate to help chase that top spot on the Denver kicking leaderboard.

“He was a great guy on and off the field,” Prater said. “Just little things here and there. Little tidbits, especially on field goals. Just little things like what he’s thinking about before he goes out for a kick. The big thing from him that he always said, he goes out and he expects to make everything, which kicking is obviously a lot mental. So if you think positive, you’re going to have better results.”

Colquitt’s record-setting net-punting campaign in 2012 marked the second straight year he’s set that team record. He enters 2013 as the franchise’s career leader in both gross and net punting averages.

“Goals for me are always just to do my best to help the team win,” Colquitt said. “I just want to help the team win and want to go further than we did last year. I think if I’m focused on that, the individual things kind of take care of themselves. That’s all good to get kind of up there in the statistics as long as it helps us win.”

While the offense and defense draw most of the attention, coaches always talk about the importance of playing well on all three phases to win a game.

"I take pride in it,” Holliday said. “Special teams is a big key in the game. The game is played in three phases: offense, defense and special teams. We just have to do our part on special teams and everything should pan out for itself."