Chief Concerns: David Martin
It’s no secret that one of the biggest factors in the Chiefs‘ 7-0 start to the 2013 season has been dominance in the field position game. Though many football fans may not realize it, punters have a HUGE role in the outcome of a game. Many punters are able to unload a 50+ yard bombs, but Dustin Colquitt possesses an incredible skill set that extends far beyond gross and net punt averages.
As Chiefs fans know, Colquitt has the ability to crank incredibly long punts. In fact, Colquitt has multiple punts of over 70 yards, and his career long is a whopping 81 yards. Through seven games in the 2013 season, Colquitt has punted 44 times and only has four touchbacks. This works out to a touchback on only 9.1 percent of his punts- and that’s not even the lowest touchback rate of his career. In the 2011 season, Colquitt punted 89 times and only racked up five touchbacks, meaning that only 5.6 percent of his punts ended up in the end zone.
So far in 2013, Colquitt is averaging 43.2 gross yards per punt (5th in the NFL) and 37.6 net yards per punt (28th in the NFL). What makes Colquitt special as a punter, though, is not only his ability to launch stat-sheet-stuffing punts, but also to get plenty of air under each kick, giving the Chiefs’ gunners time to make it down the field and limit kick returns. Colquitt’s most important attribute is perhaps his knack for landing short “rugby style” punts inside the opposing team’s 20 yard line, and often times inside the 15. These punts are difficult to master, because, due to their short distance, there is little room for error in avoiding touchbacks. With the Chiefs’ mediocre offense, many drives stall around midfield, making a successful rugby style punter very important. Dustin Colquitt has been dominant in that regard, landing 21 of his 44 punts inside the 20 yard line.
“A healthy Colquitt is important for the Chiefs, who don’t get a lot of big plays or score a lot of points with their offense. They’re dependent on winning the field position battle and having Colquitt available to drop a punt inside the 20 or hit a booming kick to get them out of trouble is vital,” reports ESPN’s Adam Teicher.
Try as one might, it is very difficult to find a player on the Chiefs’ roster more important than Colquitt. Though Colquitt is not a flashy playmaker, he has the ability to completely change a game with a well-placed punt, and he is as consistent and important as they come.