Chiefs position analysis: special teams

By Mike Ash  |   Wednesday, March 05, 2008  |  Comments( 7 )

Kansas City Chiefs
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The position analysis series comes to an end with a look at the Chiefs’ special teams.

P Dustin Colquitt

Kansas City’s third-round pick in 2005, Colquitt has been a Pro Bowl caliber punter during his three seasons with the Chiefs. And with the team’s offense dropping to the bottom of the league rankings, Colquitt was arguably the Chiefs’ MVP in 2007 with an average distance on his punts of over 45 yards per attempt.

Having just re-signed with the team for five more years, Colquitt will be booming punts in Kansas City for several seasons to come.

K Justin Medlock

After a shaky preseason, Kansas City’s fifth-round pick in 2007 was cut after the Chiefs’ first game. Medlock didn’t sign with another team for the rest of the season, but was recently inked by St. Louis amidst rumors of Jeff Wilkins’ retirement.

With the Rams having signed former Seattle kicker Josh Brown, though, Medlock will likely find himself without a team again soon. It seems unlikely that the Chiefs would bring Medlock back to compete for the kicking job in 2008, but one never knows.

K Dave Rayner

After stints in Indianapolis and Green Bay, Rayner was released by the Packers prior to the 2007 season. The Chiefs signed him to replace Medlock and though he was solid early on, Rayner didn’t prove to be a reliable option.

K John Carney

The longtime NFL veteran signed with Jacksonville after the first week of the season when Jaguars’ kicker Josh Scobee injured his leg. When Scobee returned to action in mid-November, Carney was cut and the Chiefs signed him shortly thereafter to replace the struggling Rayner.

Carney only missed 2 of 11 field goal attempts with the Jags, both misses coming at a distance over 40 yards. With the Chiefs, he was a perfect 3 for 3, showing that his accuracy is still strong after nearly two decades in the league.

At 43 years old, though, Carney doesn’t represent a long-term solution for Kansas City. And due to his diminishing leg strength, not only does the offense have to get close to the end zone before he can attempt a field goal, he may also be a liability on kickoffs.

Still, his accuracy inside of 40 yards makes him attractive to any team that needs a kicker. Having signed only a one-year contract with the Chiefs, Carney is currently a free agent. But the team may re-sign him to have him compete for the kicking job in 2008.

K Billy Cundiff

An undrafted rookie free agent, Cundiff caught on with the Dallas Cowboys in 2002 and was their kicker for three seasons. Prior to his fourth season with the team in 2005, he suffered a leg injury on the final day of training camp and was ultimately waived.

The Cowboys re-signed him later that season, but after he missed 3 of the 8 total field goals he attempted – 2 coming in what would be his final game – the team released him once again.

He hasn’t kicked field goals in the league since his release from Dallas. But due to his strong leg, he signed with New Orleans the next season to handle kickoffs for, ironically enough, John Carney, who was then with the Saints.

Cundiff signed with the Chiefs after the 2007 season and is expected to compete for the kicking job during training camp.

K Nick Novak

Also an undrafted free agent, Novak seems to have been a victim of circumstance during his brief NFL career. He signed with the Washington Redskins as a rookie in 2005 to fill in for injured veteran kicker John Hall. Once Hall was healthy, the Redskins cut Novak and he signed with the Arizona Cardinals later that season to fill in for injured kicker Neil Rackers.

Novak stayed with the Cardinals through the 2006 preseason before ultimately being cut because the team no longer needed two kickers. He then re-signed with Washington to again fill in for Hall. During Novak’s second stay in the nation’s capital, he took part in the famous finish of a Cowboys/Redskins game in which he missed a late field goal and allowed the Cowboys to set up for a tie-breaking field goal attempt of their own.

But Dallas’ kick was blocked and the ball was recovered by the late Sean Taylor, who had his face masked pulled during the return attempt. The 15 yard penalty gave Novak another shot and he made the winning field goal with no time left on the clock.

After again being released by the Redskins, Novak signed with Chicago and was sent to the Cologne Centurions of NFL Europe. Despite his solid showing, though, Novak was cut by yet another NFL team because the Bears already had kicker Robbie Gould, who had been to the Pro Bowl the previous season.

Novak didn’t play during 2007, but tried out for several teams, including the Chiefs, who auditioned several kickers after Medlock’s performance in the season opener. The team passed on signing Novak at the time., but added him after the season to compete for the job in 2008.

KR Eddie Drummond

After spending his entire career in Detroit, Drummond signed with the Chiefs late in the preseason to handle their return duties. Being able to add a former Pro Bowl kick returner seemed like a steal for Kansas City at the time.

But fans who watched him return kicks as a Chief are probably still wondering how he ever got voted to Hawaii. Drummond signed a one-year contract and is now a free agent.

Offseason analysis:

The Chiefs have two kickers under contract who will compete for the job this offseason, and will have another if they re-sign John Carney. With six picks in the final three rounds of the draft, it’s possible they could draft another young kicker to add to the mix as well.

And with the team having needs at both cornerback and receiver, the returner position is sure to be addressed in the draft. Former Texas Longhorns running back Romance Taylor, who was recently sentenced to five months in jail for violating his probation on drug charges, claimed to have tried out for the Chiefs as a returner in recent weeks. But aside from Taylor’s claim, no more information on his tryout has surfaced, and no contract appears to have been signed.

In Closing

On a personal note, this will be my last column for RealFootball365.com. And I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers and fellow writers who have made this one of the premiere sites on the internet for football analysis.

Thanks for reading.
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