Why can Special Teams be such an issue?

When Special Teams Coordinator Joe DeCamillis went to Jacksonville and kicked ass here, it rankled Broncos fans. Their thoughts were, well, why couldn’t he do that in Denver?

Below was how Special Teams worked, going forward the change in punting rules will affect team rosters. Read here for more info on that. Also, keep in mind that every time a new Special Teams Coordinator is brought in, the returning ST players have to learn new language. That doesn’t help, either.

1) Special Teams Squad –

The STC is given the leftovers from the offense and defense. I say leftovers because you don’t see the likes of Jalen Ramsey and Marqise Lee on ST. Except for the kicker, punter and long snapper, many ST’s are made up of guys used for depth on O and D. GMs often aren’t drafting high a returner. Nor are they paying big bucks for vets. Too often, the stars in college aren’t picked up because they only have one talent.


This is separate from above because when rosters are made up, the O and D line coaches pound the table for more guys because they’re often hurt. This means a team could have 20 or more guys who play on the line. Often these same 20 are who’s active on game day. Who’s going to keep up with returners to block? Or run down their opponent’s returner if most of the ST guys are big and slow? This is often why teams have more DBs and TEs then they use -ST work.

3) GM/HC –

If you’re a team with a Defensive Line coach who’s been there for years and is strong willed, how much power to be heard do you think he has over some new coach? If you have a GM/HC who doesn’t see ST as any kind of priority, then one or both won’t set up the roster with them in mind.

4) TIME –

How much practice time do you think O and D coordinators want to give up to ST? These STC rarely get to pick their squad, and then don’t get much practice time.


ST could “practice” all week with their 13 or so guys and then the OC or DC decides not to dress one or more guys than the STC planned on. Now he’s stuck having to go to Plan B. Go back 1. Since ST rarely get starters, guess who is most likely not to dress out? Guys on ST.

I’m going to add something in here that also has a bearing on why some STC has been a swinging door: quarterbacking. If a team has an offense that can move down the field, and not have to punt almost every possession, there’s not as much pressure to make sure he starts with positive yards. Which leads to the defense needing less time on the field so the offense can have more chances to do something. This makes field position crucial.

To summarize, DeCamillis does well in Jacksonville because the GM and/or HC gave him more talent, time to work with them and less pressure to outperform the average.

Tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: