After years of misery, last season was the Colts' brightest in terms of special teams in recent memory.
Adam Vinatieri was back to being Mr. Automatic. Pat McAfee continued to develop as one of the game's best young punters. Taj Smith blocked a punt for a touchdown, and Tyjuan Hagler scored off an onside kick! asjbfdskdjskcvl!!!!!
Talk about finally getting some production!
Kickers: Advantage Colts
1. Colts - Adam Vinatieri
3. Jags - Josh Scobee
Until Vinatieri retires, the Colts will always been first on this list. The other three are all quality kickers who would rank in the top half of the league. It was hard choosing Rackers to be last such a ranking is not a slight on his abilities rather just that Bironas and Scobee are accurate and reliable.
Punters: Advantage Colts
1. Colts - Pat McAfee
2. Jags - Adam Podlesh
3. Titans - Brett Kern
4. Texans - Matt Turk
This is a homer pick because they all managed roughly the same average - Podlesh had the highest by a yard but also played in warmer weather and punted the fewest amount of times - and freaking Mike Scifres isn't in our division. McAffee also seems to have the most potential of the group. Turk is at the bottom of the list simply because he is 42 years old and in serious decline.
Return Specialists: Advantage Titans
1. Titans - stats: 24.3 average, 98 yard long, 1 TD
2. Jaguars - stats: 23.8 average, 65 yard long, no TDs
3. Colts 19.6 average, 41 yard long, 1 TD
4. Texans - stats: 19.8 average, 50 yard long, no TDs
So apparently no one in our division cares much for special teams. Leading the category with one touchdown is not something to be proud about. If there was a ranking for coolest return touchdown of the year it would definitely go to Ty Hagler who returned a onside kick to seal a win. That was awesome.
Coverage Units: Advantage Jaguars
1. Jags - 21.5 yard against average, 46 yard long given up, 1 TD allowed
2. Texans - 24.2 yard against average, 103 yard long given up, 1 TD allowed
3. Titans - 28.8 yard against average, 97 yard long given up, 1 TD allowed
4. Colts - 25.8 yard against average, 99 yard long given up, 1 TD allowed
What'd you expect? The Colts consistently start on our own 4 and allow opponents to start at our 40. I know we don't put emphasis on our special teams, but imagine if we did.... we would have probably beaten the Jets.
Its not fair to Peyton that he always has to organize 96 yard drives and its equally unfair to our defense that opposing offenses are one first down from field goal range. But, c'est la vie.
1. Jags - 8
2. Colts - 9
2. Titans - 9
4. Texans - 14
Is there a coincidence that the Jags rank near the bottom offensively and defensively yet still come out around .500 because of special teams? Probably not, but the Texans ranked highly in both and still were terrible last year and the Colts have the best offense and a solid defense and only went 10-6.... I am not trying to blindly find some correlation to the value of special teams based on some terribly inexact science, but it's certainly more important that the Colts seem to think.
It's a dream of mine that when the lockout ends the Colts will take a gamble on some flash return specialist who will help provide Peyton will consistently better field advantage. Then again, that's been a re-occuring dream for the past decade.