Following Friday’s 22-20 preseason victory at Seattle, Denver Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak identified a number of areas for improvement, not the least of which was on the special teams unit. While the starting units on offense and defense (which both included a combination of first- and second-team players) performed well – the offense scoring on every possession and the defense forcing a fumble, a field goal, two punts and the end of half on five drives – special teams struggled throughout the night, allowing a kickoff return for a touchdown and two muffed punts, one of which was recovered by Seattle. With exception of the field goal unit, which was a combined 5-for-5 between Connor Barth and Brandon McManus, special teams were the glaring problem for Denver in the game. On kick returns, Denver allowed an average of 39.3 yards per return, including the 103-yard score by rookie Tyler Lockett.

Following the game, Kubiak and Seattle head coach Pete Carroll offered their thoughts on the special teams play.

Gary Kubiak: “We lost contain a couple of times. We had some adjustments to make in special teams. We did not play Omar (Bolden). We worked him out tonight. We had some things going on there. But it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. We had some assignment issues and some decision mistakes from a returners stand point. So obviously we have a lot of things to clean up right there.”

Pete Carroll: “(Tyler Lockett) looks like we hoped he would look. We drafted him with the thought that he might give us a real spark in an area that we wanted to find a way to improve and be more dynamic. He did that. He’ll tell you that he just missed the cut on the first one, and he had a big play there, too. I think the creative return on the punt return was really nice to see. He started one way and got bottled up, and had the speed to get back around. Also, on the big kickoff, lots of times guys make that break and they start to turn the corner, and they get run down at the 30 yard line. He finished it, and that’s 4.3, and it showed up. A lot of fast guys tried to get him, and he turned the corner. He didn’t really have a great angle, it looked like to me, and then I didn’t see the rest.”

Lockett spoke after the game as well, offering these thoughts about his debut…

Tyler Lockett: “I was running not to get caught because you never want to get caught when you’re in that position. You’ll have a lot of players talking about you and stuff like that. But even going back to the kickoff return. What made it so special was just the other ten players and how everybody did their jobs. For them to be able to do their jobs I had to do my job. Each and every one of us did a perfect rep out there…”

Lockett: “Nobody understands or knows what their debut is going to be like. There’s a million thoughts that go through your head, especially when you play a night game. Anything can happen and you just kind of have to run with it and go with the flow. Luckily I was blessed enough to have a game like this.”