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Special Teams Burning Questions Heading Into Colts Training Camp

Intro: We are a little less than two weeks away from the start of the Colts 2017 Training Camp. Our burning questions series is back, with the final look at the special teams this season.


INDIANAPOLIS –The Colts 2017 Training Camp is a little less than two weeks away.

On Saturday, July 29, the Colts will report to work at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, for their first Training Camp “at home” since moving to Indy in 1984.

Over the next week and a half, will take a look at the "Burning Questions" for all position groups heading into the 2017 Training Camp.

Here's a look at the special teams burning questions with the 2017 season nearing:

  • Will a new holder and a new long snapper impact Adam Vinatieri?

Debating the accuracy of Adam Vinatieri's right leg is a worthless argument.

Despite reaching the age of 44, Vinatieri has maintained consistency like really no other in the NFL.

Vinny has made 82-of-89 field goals the last three years, with 14 of those makes coming from longer than 50 yards.

The question with Vinny in a contract year comes from those around him.

In 2017, he's working with a new long snapper (undrafted rookie Thomas Hennessy) and a new holder (the left-handed Jeff Locke).

About the only thing that seemingly could slow down the future Hall of Fame kicker is working with new operators in the kicking game.

With Morten Andersen's illustrious records of most points scored and most field goals made probably just two years away for Vinny, there are still attainable individual marks in reach.

Training Camp and the preseason will be important for Vinny to make sure the operation of Hennessy to Locke to Vinatieri works as smoothly as Overton to McAfee to Vinatieri.

STAT TO NOTE: Adam Vinatieri has the NFL record for most consecutive field goals made at 44.

  • How much different will the duties formerly held by Pat McAfee look with Jeff Locke?

Well, a lot.

Jeff Locke is left footed.

Once Colts fans get around the image of a left-footed punter, they will see a guy that has been primarily more of a "control the returner" type of punter, compared to the booming style of McAfee, who turned into a tremendous all-around specialist.

Locke is excited about expanding his game with special teams coordinator Tom McMahon.

During the spring, Locke showed no real struggles in knocking kickoffs into the end zone.

McAfee was a major weapon for the Colts.

It's a lot to ask of Locke to match that, but this was a guy who had enough talent to be taken very high in the draft.

STAT TO NOTE: Jeff Locke was taken in the 5th round of the 2013 NFL Draft (155th overall). That's the highest a punter has been chosen since 2012.

  • Who will the Colts use as their returners in 2017?

This one could go a couple of different directions.

Quan Bray is back and healthy after going on injured reserve last October.

In Bray's absence, the Colts used Chester Rogers at punt returner.

Rogers recovered from a little indecisiveness early on to become a very capable returner late in the year.

Jordan Todman, the team's kick returner in Bray's absence, departed in free agency.

In analyzing the roster, Bray and Rogers seem to be the favorites for the return duties.

Where Rogers could have the upper hand on Bray is with roster mechanics.

Rogers has entrenched himself in the wide receiver competition, whereas Bray is still a returner first, then a receiver second.

If numbers get crunchy, Rogers could be the guy come September.

STAT TO NOTE: Last year the Colts ranked 4th in the NFL in kickoff return average at 25.1 yards per return.

The analysis from those producing content on does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.

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