ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. starred in the Broncos' special teams highlight of Week 2, a 45-yard punt return against the Washington Commanders, but Mims' dash down the sideline wasn't the only encouraging sign Special Teams Coordinator Ben Kotwica saw from his unit last Sunday.
Though the Broncos fell to the visiting Commanders 35-33, Kotwica saw improvement from the placekicking, punting and return phases of special teams. He's hoping the Broncos can parlay that success and momentum into an even stronger performance against the Dolphins in Denver's first road matchup.
"I think that for us that was a positive game," Kotwica said of the special teams unit. "We out-returned them in the return game obviously with the long return, we outkicked them — we made all our kicks [and] obviously they missed a couple, especially the long one that gave us field position — and Riley [Dixon] had a higher net punt than their punter. … We want to keep building upon that and emphasize the ball-striking consistency, which we'll need on Sunday."
Both Kotwica and Head Coach Sean Payton were impressed by kicker Wil Lutz, who made all three of his extra-point attempts, along with 31- and 32-yard field goals, in his second game with the Broncos. Kotwica also had high praise for Mims, who flashed his potential as a kick returner in Week 1 against Las Vegas before tearing off his 45-yard punt return against Washington.
Mims' speed helped him record two receptions of more than 50 yards on offense, but his athleticism has also made him a difference-maker as the Broncos' primary returner, according to Kotwica.
"Marvin was able to make a guy miss, which shows his short-area quickness … and then [was] able to outrun some people," Kotwica said. "So [I'm] just really, really encouraged to see things that we've done to pay off. It's not every week you have a long return like that and hopefully [we'll] build off that this week."
Even with the success, Kotwica is looking ahead to Denver's matchup against the Dolphins as an excellent test of his unit's continued improvement. With an opponent as talented as Miami, Kotwica knows every advantage the Broncos' special teams unit can create will be critical in Denver's hopes of capturing a win on the road.
"That's in the past," Kotwica said of the Broncos' Week 2 performance. "This outfit that we're playing against us [on] Sunday is going to be another challenge for us. They've got good players, so we've got to be at our best to help us win this football game."