Without punting a single ball in the NFL, Britton Colquitt has already recognized the cache of the opportunity standing before him.
“It’s definitely a dream come true for that to be your job, to play football,” he said. “But at the same time, it really puts a bigger importance on what you are doing and why you are doing it.”
How did Colquitt recognize the importance of the pro jump so quickly? Punting happens to be his family’s business.
When Colquitt signed with the Broncos as a college free agent in April, he became the fourth member of his family to land on an NFL roster – as a punter. His cousin, Jimmy, had a brief run with the Seattle Seahawks in 1985 – one season after his father, Craig, finished a six-year stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers, with two Super Bowl rings in his possession.
His brother Dustin is the third link in the family chain, holding a 38.3-yard net punting average in four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs. That tally ranks fourth best among all NFL players since the AFL-NFL merger.
Dustin’s success over the past three seasons came under current Broncos special teams coordinator Mike Priefer. Now, Britton has the chance to work with Priefer in Denver, and he’s aware of the tools the coach can teach him.
“Dustin has gone from being decent to great,” Britton said. “Just hopefully getting a little bit of knowledge here, whether it is for a few years or whether it is just this summer in training camp. I feel like I’ve already gained some knowledge and can definitely get a lot better just from him alone.”
As a punter, that bank of knowledge has to be rich in several areas. Handling punts and kickoffs in college, Colquitt was working exclusively with his legs, and had minimal experience as a holder.
With the Broncos, his arm and hands are already coming into play. When Colquitt arrived for minicamps, Priefer and special teams assistant Keith Burns quickly added new threads to his routine, with at least 60 hold drills per day. Colquitt was not opposed to the extra practice, envisioning what a game situation might require.
“Going from nothing to 60 is amazing because it is not just the punting job,” Colquitt said. “I’ve got to be trustworthy that I could be the quarterback of the field goal team and I’ve got to have Matt Prater able to trust me to put the ball down.”
In expanding his range of skills, Colquitt has simultaneously improved his punting fundamentals, from his drop to his leg swing. He said he’s even found time to work on his throwing game, in the case of that rare fake punt.
All those diverse elements of his punting game fit into the bigger scheme of why Colquitt decided to come to Dove Valley in the first place.
“It’s a lot of things coming in and stuff I’ve never done before, but I’m learning a lot,” he said.
- Chris Gentilviso, DenverBroncos.com