Analysis

An in depth look at the punter situation for the Kansas City Chiefs

After 15 seasons of loyalty and a stable presence in the locker room, Dustin Colquitt was released by the Chiefs. It is the end of an era. Colquitt was the last player to have played under another coach than Andy Reid.

In a cost saving move, the Chiefs saved 2 million dollars in salary cap space for the next season.

So what is exactly the punter situation in Kansas City right now?

Veteran punter Dustin Colquitt was highly respected in the locker room and was an amazing ambassador for the KC community. He won’t be forgotten or replaced easily.

The Chiefs have two punters currently on the roster: rookie undrafted free agent Tommy Townsend from Florida and second-year punter Tyler Newsome, who spent the 2019 preseason with the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Chiefs seem to believe a lot in the rookie from Florida. Townsend has a good leg, averaging 44 yards per punt in 2019 — including a 71-yard bomb against the Missouri Tigers. He dropped a solid 47.6% of his punts inside the 20-yard line. To compare him with Colquitt, Colquitt actually dropped 43.8% of his punts inside the 20 during 2019.

To complete the picture, Townsend is very comfortable as a holder for field goals and extra points. It is a task he had in Florida, so he could actually replace Colquitt on this task too.

On the other hand, Tyler Newsome is a big shot, showcasing his skills during his time at Notre Dame. He has fantastic hang time, a strong leg, and he averaged 44.7 yards per punt in his senior year. Newsome’s performance inside the 20 isn’t quite as good as Townsend’s though, dropping just 35.8% percent of his punts there.

For the first time in 15 seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs will have a new punter in the locker room. And Townsend knows he made a good decision coming to the Chiefs following the draft.

“I’ve been hearing amazing things about the Chiefs, the coaching staff, and just the culture that the Chiefs organization brings forward,” Townsend told reporters on Wednesday. “So, it was always something in the back of my mind that told me the Chiefs would be a really great spot for me, and it played out that way.”

“I actually met Britton (Colquitt) when I was at Tennessee,” Townsend said. “He came out and got some work in with us. I’ve heard stuff about Dustin (Colquitt). He’s a legend, not just for the punting industry, but for the Chiefs and throughout the NFL. They’ve been with Dustin for a really long time. He’s a guy that has done everything the right way. The biggest thing for me is, I’m just trying to make a name for myself and become my own person. That’s what I’m really excited about.”

In addition to working and talking immediately with his new teammates Harrison Butker and James Winchester, Townsend participated in the Chiefs’ virtual rookie minicamp this past weekend, working with Dave Toub and the rest of the coaching staff. That is a very good sign and it looks like the Chiefs are leaning towards Townsend to fill Colquitt’s shoes.

Eventually, someone else than Colquitt will have to be THE guy in Kansas City for as long as possible and keep his legacy alive.  

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