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Rick Gosselin Ranks the Colts as Having the NFL’s 2nd Best Special Teams Units in 2021

Special teams coach Bubba Ventrone continues to lead one of the league’s elite units.

NFL: JUL 31 Indianapolis Colts Training Camp Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

According to’s Rick Gosselin, in his highly regarded annual rankings, the Indianapolis Colts finished as the league’s second best special teams units in 2021 under special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone:


1. Baltimore, 241.5

2. Indianapolis, 272

3. Seattle, 276

4. Kansas City, 298.5

5. New Orleans, 299.5

6. Dallas, 301

7. Detroit, 310.5

8. Buffalo, 316.5

9. Chicago, 330

10. NY Giants, 332

11. Las Vegas, 333.5

12. Cincinnati, 341

13. NY Jets, 343

14. Houston, 346

15. Minnesota, 347

16. LA Rams, 350

17. Pittsburgh, 364.5

18. New England, 376.5

19. Tennessee, 377

20. Washington, 384.5

21. Philadelphia, 385.5

22. Miami, 393

23. Atlanta, 408.5

24. Jacksonville, 409.5

25. SF 49ers, 414

26. Arizona, 419.5

27. Denver, 421

28. Carolina, 428.5

29. Tampa Bay, 429

30. Cleveland, 443

31. LA Chargers, 444

32. Green Bay, 482.5

The Colts improved from fourth on Gosselin’s rankings in 2020.

The newest elite-level ranking for the Colts is hardly surprising given their success collectively in the kicking, punting, return, and return coverage games—while also showing big play ability.

For what it’s worth, PFF also ranked the Colts as having the second best (tied) special teams units at the end of the 2021 season.

Among the units’ standouts are NFL First-Team All-Pro (and Pro Bowl) long snapper Luke Rhodes, 2nd-Team NFL All-Pro special teams gunner Ashton Dulin, and AFC Special Teams Player of the Week linebacker E.J. Speed (Week 10) and punter Rigoberto Sanchez (Weeks 4 and 7).

Not to mention, linebackers Zaire Franklin, who blocked the punt that Speed returned for a touchdown in the Colts’ 23-17 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10, as well as Matthew Adams who blocked a punt in Week 15 against the New England Patriots that Speed also recovered for a touchdown—en route to a 27-17 upset Colts victory.

Kick returner Isaiah Rodgers is also an asset in the return game, averaging 26.4 yards per kick return—with a long of 72 yards in 2021.

Per PFF, the Colts’ Ashton Dulin and Matthew Adams each received overall special teams grades of +90.8, while teammates, George Odum (+84.8) and Zaire Franklin (+83.7), also finished among their Top 50 special team contributors among all NFL teams.

Despite the Colts’ disappointing finish to the season, there were still some silver linings to take away from the 2021 campaign—particularly on special teams, and good NFL teams play all three phases of the game well: offense, defense, and special teams.

That’s something that should only help the Colts going forward, especially if the team can solidify itself at starting kicker.