Broncos finally start upgrading special teams, sign punter Sam Martin

Sam Martin. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.
Sam Martin. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas, USA TODAY Sports.

The Denver Broncos have been awful on special teams for years.

As it turns out, having a great offense and defense is only two-thirds of the puzzle; a solid special teams unit is usually a precursor to winning, too.

Now, Denver is starting to address that struggling special teams group by signing former Lions punter Sam Martin:

Last year, Colby Wadman was 25th in the NFL, with a 44.4 yard per punt average. New Broncos punter is a slight improvement, booting footballs at a 45.3 yard per punt average. That was good enough for 17th-best in the NFL last season.

Rewind back to 2018, when the Broncos were among the lower-third in punting, with Wadman averaging 44.7 yards per punt that season. Interestingly, Martin averaged the same exact number that year. However, it seems likely the Broncos decision-makers believe he will be able to boost that number a bit at altitude, starting in 2020.

Also of note: In terms of net punting, while Wadman was 28th, Martin was 13th. Also, Martin was 14th-best in terms of punts within the 20 being downed, Wadman was 21st.

Here’s something interesting about Martin; he was handling the kickoff duties in Detroit as well as punting. The versatile kicker was drafted by the Lions in the fifth round in 2013 and played there ever since. Could Denver have him handle kickoff duties this year, as well as punting?

Brandon McManus, who was given a nice extension to pay him $4.25 million this year, has been the Broncos kickoff man since he was signed back in 2014. McManus averages a 66.8 percent touchback percentage over his career, while Martin is much lower at 54 percent.

So, it seems likely we will only see Martin on the field when he’s punting, or possibly to hold for McManus on field goals and extra points.

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