Broncos: decision made to go with McManus
In each of the past three seasons, Prater graded out as either the No. 1 or No. 2 kicker. In 2013, Prater finished with a +63.5 grade, a full 17.5 points ahead of No. 2 Stephen Gostkowski. Of course, all Denver kickers are helped out by the city’s thin air. In 2013, Prater finished second in average kickoff distance and had the second-lowest percentage of kicks returned. When it came to kicking for points, Prater missed only one field goal last year and it came from beyond 50 yards.
Through the first four games of the 2014 season, (keeping in mind that McManus only played in three games due to the early bye), he’s has performed well. He’s averaging 2.8 more yards per kickoff than Prater’s 2013 average and is 3-of-3 on converting field goal tries though all were between 20 and 29 yards. Only 12.5% of McManus’ kickoffs have been returned this season, an impressive number. It’s a small sample size, but McManus has performed well enough that the Broncos felt comfortable making him the starter for the season.