We’re wrapping up our pre-camp look at each position on the Colts roster by taking a look at the special teams unit - and it will be one of the easiest previews of them all.
There’s really no debate or competition for any of the three special teams spots on the Colts roster right now. Adam Vinatieri is their kicker, Pat McAfee is their punter, and Matt Overton is their long snapper. All three of them have made the Pro Bowl at some point in the past three seasons, and Vinatieri and McAfee have made a strong case to being the best in the NFL at their respective jobs.
Vinatieri is the oldest player in the NFL and the oldest player on the Colts roster by eight years, but he’s been as good as ever in recent years - and that’s saying a lot for the future Hall of Famer. He has hit on 94.8% of his field goal attempts in the past two seasons, the best mark in the NFL during that span. He made his first 30 attempts in 2014 before missing his final one, and then in 2015 he rebounded from two early misses to convert his final 25 field goals of the year.
He has been phenomenal, and Pat McAfee has been as well. McAfee is among the very best punters in the NFL and also contributes in a variety of other ways for the Colts: as their kickoff specialist and field goal holder, and he also does quite well on onside kicks and at hitting people too. When you combine it all, it’s easy to argue that McAfee is the best special teams player in football.
Those two, added with Overton - who does a reliable job as the long snapper - make up the fourth down army for the Colts, which has been a great unit in recent seasons. That figures to again be the case in 2016, and so there’s little to worry about in that regard.
While those three have been phenomenal, the Colts’ return game has been abysmal for several years. They have tried out a number of different returners in an effort to get a spark, but nothing has worked. That’s why wide receiver Quan Bray is so interesting: he actually did well as a return man last year! He averaged 27.1 yards on kickoff returns in 2015 with a long of 60, and he averaged 7.9 yards per punt return with a long of 33. His spot on the roster isn’t secure, but his production in the return game last year gives him a very good chance of winning one of the depth receiver spots and returning to his role as the return man.
Overall, there’s not much to worry about with the Colts special teams unit. With Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee leading the way, there won’t be much competition in training camp - and that’s a good thing.