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Special Teams Burning Questions Heading Into 2015 Training Camp

Intro: The countdown to the Colts 2015 Training Camp is just two days away. What’s in store for the special teams of the Colts this season?





INDIANAPOLIS –The Colts special teams heads into 2015 led by their All-Pro kicking duo of Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee.

The only thing missing from having the top, unquestioned, special teams group in 2014 were a few long returns.

Here's a look at the special teams burning questions heading into the team's 2015 Training Camp.

Who will be the kick and punt returners for the Colts in 2015?

Clarification on one part of this answer came back in May for the Colts.

One day after the Colts selected Phillip Dorsett with the No. 29 overall pick, the team released veteran return man Josh Cribbs.

Dorsett took plenty of punt return reps during the Colts offseason program and it definitely looks like he will be the starter there come September 13 in Buffalo.

Kick returner is where this question lingers into Training Camp.

Earlier this offseason, special teams coach Tom McMahon named Boom Herron, Donte Moncrief and Duron Carter among options to take over those duties.

Herron has some kick return experience with the Colts (four career returns for 91 yards).

Moncrief is an intriguing weapon to McMahon, thanks to a body type that isn't seen too frequently at the kick return spot.

Ball security is obviously key No. 1 for the Colts return men in 2015, but there are some quality chances to chew up return yardage with the players above.

STAT TO NOTE: The last time the Colts had a punt or kick return for a touchdown came in the 2012 season (T.Y. Hilton-punt return, Deji Karim-kick return).**

A look at the Colts trio of Pro Bowl specialists: Pat McAfee (2014), Matt Overton (2013) and Adam Vinatieri (2014).

How will the new PAT rule impact Adam Vinatieri?**

Chuck Pagano made it pretty clear this offseason that the Colts are unlikely to opt for two-point tries with the PAT now being pushed back to the 15-yard line.

In nine seasons with the Colts, Vinatieri has banged home 13-of-14 field goals at a distance of 32 or 33 yards (the new distance for extra point attempts in 2015).

Take into fact that the Colts only "not ideal" weather situation of the year should come in Pittsburgh in early December, the decision to routinely trot out Vinatieri makes plenty of sense.

If weather conditions play a factor one week (maybe come January?), then the Colts might think twice about using the future Hall of Famer every time.

Vinatieri isn't a fan of the new extra point rule but the good news for him is he's coming off a career-best year in his 19th NFL season.

STAT TO NOTE: Adam Vinatieri's 35 consecutive field goals made from 2013-2014 was the fourth longest streak in NFL history.**

What type of weapon is Pat McAfee?**

Pat McAfee has made a name for himself around the NFL.

The Colts most popular social media presence might also be the NFL's most important kicker.

Week-after-week last year, the Colts dominated the hidden yardage in the special teams, largely thanks to McAfee.

Whether it was blasting 70 touchbacks last season (the second most for a single season in NFL history) or re-setting his own franchise record with 30 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, McAfee's worth is immense.

After a 2014 campaign going three-for-three in converting onside kicks, McAfee makes special teams coordinators think twice about how they approach the Colts kickoff coverage unit.

Having to account for the surprise onside kick forces teams to adjust their kick return blocking schemes.

With McAfee and Vinatieri taking home All-Pro awards last season, the Colts became just the fourth team in NFL history to have their kicking duo sweep those honors in the same year.

STAT TO NOTE: Pat McAfee set franchise records for punts pinned inside the 20-yard line (30) and net punting average (42.8) last season.

2015 Specialists (3): P-Pat McAfee, LS-Matt Overton, K-Adam Vinatieri.Roster Outlook*: The Colts are obviously going to keep these three on their final roster. The big question regarding roster spots for the special teams units comes in who ultimately makes the 53-man roster. Can guys prove their worth on special teams and force the Colts to keep them? There are openings for "core special teams guys" with Sergio Brown and Andy Studebaker no longer in the building.

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