Week 1 Player Analysis – Marquette King
Week 1 Performance
Marquette King was a welcome addition to the Broncos special teams this offseason. The exuberant character of King came with some mixed feelings throughout Denver. Some were concerned with his playful personality that draws penalties, which isn’t great from a punter. Others were excited for a punter who averaged 47.4 yards per punt at sea level in Oakland.
After Sunday’s performance against the Seahawks, all concerns of character and talent were put to bed. King averaged 44.5 yards per punt, and put three of his six punts inside the 20-yard line. In addition, his average of 44.5 yards included a 27-yard placement kick late in the 4th quarter. Negating that punt, King averaged around 48 yards per kick on his punts.
King was called upon twice in the first half. His first kick, which was probably his worst of the night, was tipped and almost entirely blocked thanks to Seattle stacking the left side. This had nothing to do with King’s time to kick, Seattle got through the left side of the line virtually untouched. King barely avoided a block and hit, and got a favorable bounce that took the ball all the way back to Seattle’s 16-yard line.
With first game and first kick jitters out of everyone’s system, King’s second kick of the half was his best all-around kick, second only to his last kick based on situation. His second kick went for 52 yards. The kick had great backspin to it, which allowed the ball to bounce sideways pinning Seattle to their 5-yard line. You could feel the energy from this kick in the crowd and with the team. King was met with a multitude of high fives and flying butt-bumps all along the sideline because of it.
The Broncos offense had a good first half, limiting King’s time on the field. The second half was where King was on the field more frequently, as Seattle had effectively shut down Denver’s offense. King averaged 42.5 yards per punt in the second half, but Denver’s special teams really felt King’s presence with his average return yards. King limited return yards to an average of 3.6 yards returned per punt on the night. That helped remove any potential threat of flipping field position or a special teams touchdown.
The best kick of the night was King’s last kick. Denver was facing a fourth and five with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter and was sitting on Seattle’s 40-yard line. Seattle had no time outs left and needed a field goal to tie the game. With big leg Sebastian Janikowski looking to make up for his early missed field goal, Seattle only needed to get to Denver’s 40 yard line to have a legitimate chance at tying this game up.
You could feel the energy from this kick in the crowd and with the team.
Last year, Denver only placed 32.4 % of all their punt attempts inside the 20-yard line. King had no such issue with that on this crucial kick. He took a great approach and blasted the ball straight to the sidelines, negating any chance of a return. He also pinned Seattle to their own 12-yard line. Now, Seattle had to march upward of 48 yards in under a minute with no time outs. It wasn’t a 69 yard kick like Michael Dickson had earlier in the game, but it was a well executed kick that helped to put more pressure on Seattle’s last attempt to tie or win the game.
Fans can sometimes forget how important all 3 phases of a football game are. Broncos fans are not a part of this crowd after 2017. After 6 muffed punts, 2 blocked punts, and only 32.4% of all punts being within the 20-yard line last year, Denver was looking to completely re-vamp their special teams. The signing of King has helped in that department after one game. King limited punt returns and placed the ball when needed to, which helped Denver secure good field position.
He will be instrumental for the Broncos this year if they want to win the AFC West. Tyreek Hill took a 91-yard return to the house on Sunday against the Chargers. King will look to make sure that does not happen when the Broncos meet the Chiefs. But for now, King can shift his focus to the team that decided they didn’t want his services any longer, as he looks to make the Oakland Raiders regret their decision on letting him dawn the orange and blue.