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After another underwhelming performance, one Bronco is on notice

Zac Stevens Avatar
October 2, 2018

DENVER — Death-gripping to a seven-point lead with 4:43 left in a game, the Denver Broncos needed a $2 million punt from a $2 million punter as they were backed up at their own 25-yard line.

What they got, instead, was spare change.

Thirty-five yards later, the ball sailed out of bounds at the Chiefs’ 40-yard line, setting up for a Patrick Mahomes-led 60-yard game-winning touchdown drive.

“We had an OK punt. It wasn’t a great punt. We gave them the ball with half the field,” head coach Vance Joseph said, calling out Marquette King unprompted after the team’s 27-23 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night.

When the team needed him the most, King came up empty.

On the night, King was only called upon three times and came up with a dreadful 41-yard average.

What was worse, however, was his three punts netted an atrocious 28.7 yards per punt.

“He’s got to perform better. He’s got to perform better,” Joseph emphasized after the loss on Monday night. “We’re at home, and it’s his job to flip the field. That ain’t happening. He’s got to play better.”

Or else what?

The Broncos answered that question this past week.

“He has to simply punt better—no different than our corners have to play better in coverage, and we’ve got to block better. He’s a football player, and he’s got to do his job,” Joseph said after the team’s Week 3 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, in which King averaged a familiar 41 yards per punt.

“He’s got to punt better.”

A day later, the Broncos signed 2017 undrafted punter Colby Wadman to their practice squad.

“We have to get better [at punter],” Joseph said, explaining the decision to sign Wadman. “We’re looking forward to Marquette having a good week of punting, but it’s a performance-based business, so we’re trying to get better there.”

One week later, and another game under his belt, King left Joseph with the same taste in his mouth. This time, however, King’s short punts felt as if they hurt the team more than in Week 3.

Through the first quarter of the season, King is averaging 44.05 yards per punt, the tenth-worst mark in the league.

With a “great talent,” as special teams coordinator Tom McMahon called Wadman, in their back pocket on the practice squad, King’s much-to-be-desired performance is quickly making the punter position interesting in the mile-high air.

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