One potential area for concern for the Denver Broncos this upcoming season is in the return game. For the past year and a half, Denver’s primary return man on both punts and kickoffs was Trindon Holliday, who left Denver as a free agent to join the New York Giants. As of now, Omar Bolden is expected to return kickoffs, while Wes Welker is slated to return punts for the Broncos.
Holliday was both a spark and a buzzkill for the Broncos during his tenure with the team. He provided Denver’s special teams with a spark that the team had not seen for years. Holliday returned two kickoffs for touchdowns, as well as two punts for touchdowns in his short time in Denver. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Holliday managed to fumble the football 10 times.
Bolden has yet to really prove himself since he was drafted in the fourth round by the Broncos in the 2012. In his career, Bolden has fielded only 16 kickoffs totaling 314 yards, with a long return of just 33 yards. Bolden has hardly provided the fear that Holliday put into the opposing team’s kickoff team.
Welker has absolutely no business being Denver’s punt returner. He is aging and suffered too many concussions during the 2013 season. Welker will also be a primary target for Peyton Manning in the slot in 2014, meaning he is probably going to be taking more punishment. Welker also lost a fumble near the goal line in Denver’s opener against the Baltimore Ravens and was involved in the fumble on the punt return that was lost by Tony Carter in overtime at the New England Patriots, which cost Denver the game.
Whatever develops regarding the return game during training camp and the preseason for the Broncos is anyone’s guess. It would not be smart for the Broncos to leave the return game as is. Right now, Denver has no proven spark in the return game that can change the momentum of a game. Holliday did have issues fumbling the football, but he was that special teams threat Denver had that could change a game. The Broncos may regret letting him go.