On Friday, Broncos Special Teams coach Brock Olivo spoke on a number of topics regarding his unit, as well as the Dolphins’ special teams. Olivo gave credit to both the Dolphins’ coaches and players at that phase of the game. “They have two really good returners—two good punt returners—and then they also have a pretty good kick return unit as well. They’re a very well coached team all around. Very aggressive in every phase. I have a ton of respect for Darren Rizzi, their special teams coach. We have a heavyweight fight against us.”
Olivo said that there are many factors regarding the success of Denver’s special teams, including practicing what he wants to get done, with the right combination of players every Sunday, as well as everybody being on the same page. “I think there are a lot of things that go into play there. I think it’s getting a system down—there’s still things about the new system that guys are still adapting to along the way. You have young guys in there and this is all new to them. Then it’s a personnel issue, we can get some guys some pieces in the right places. It’s trying to find that perfect chemistry and then it’s me trying to do a better job of making sure those guys learn and understand what we’re trying to get accomplished.
When asked about his confidence in receiver/returner Jordan Taylor, Olivo spoke about Taylor’s ability to catch the ball. He also mentioned rookie receiver/returner Isaiah McKenzie, who had a rough outting a few weeks ago. “Jordan Taylor catches the ball, yes. He’s very good at that. He works hard at it. As I’m speaking to you guys, I’m watching Isaiah out there get extra catches in too. That’s a positive thing. But yes, Jordan’s a very reliable guy back there.”
McKenzie has been inactive each of the last three weeks due to his struggles with ball control. He has fumbled the ball five times in 8 games, all coming on punt returns. Olivo isn’t quite ready to say right now that his trust for McKenzie in games is back. “Isaiah in practice, absolutely. He’s been back there doing a very good job. We brought in some left-footed punters to work him out and so he has definitely improved. But now, again, there’s a big difference between being a practice player and a game player.”
Olivo said that he believes McKenzie will have another shot at returning punts, but did not have a plan on when that will be. “I think that he probably will, yes. I think that he will. I think that he’s obviously a talented player who can flip the field for us. He has the talent to hit the homerun too, so we like that about him. So we’ll see. I have confidence he’ll be back there.”
Expect receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Jordan Taylor to be returners on Sunday against the Dolphins. Devontae Booker, who leads the team in kick return yards, could also see action in that phase of the game.