Last offseason, the Broncos brought in a high-energy, rookie up-and-comer to coach their special teams. The result: One of the worst units in the league.
This time around, John Elway and Vance Joseph took a different route.
On Tuesday, the Broncos hired veteran coach Tom McMahon to be their special teams coordinator. McMahon has led special teams units in the NFL for the past nine seasons and was the Colts’ coordinator for the past five. He had previous stints as a coordinator with the Rams and the Chiefs.
McMahon has a solid track record. During his five seasons in Indianapolis, kicker Adam Vinatieri and punter Pat McAfee combined for three Pro Bowl appearances and two first-team All-Pro selections. In four of the past five years, the Colts have ranked in the top half of the league in kick return average but their punt returns lacked explosiveness.
McAfee broke news of the signing on Twitter and praised the Broncos for their decision.
“Guy is an absolutely incredible coach,” McAfee wrote. “Genuinely loved going to practice with him holding the whistle. Made me fall in love with the process again. Denver will love him.”
Denver's special teams were miserable in 2017 and McMahon will have his hands full trying to turn them around. The Broncos were 26th in field goal percentage, 27th in net punting average, and rookie punt returner Isaiah McKenzie lost two fumbles on muffed punts and recovered another in his own end zone for a safety. Their eight punt return fumbles were the most in the league. Denver was one of five teams to have multiple field goals blocked. Six of their kickoffs were considered "onside" (tied for the most in the league) and they didn't manage to recover a single one.
Former special teams coordinator Brock Olivo came to Denver after working under Dave Toub in Kansas City. Olivo was fired last Monday along with five other assistant coaches. Four of the jobs have now been filled, but the Broncos still need to find a wide receivers coach and an outside linebackers coach.