Veteran punter Dustin Colquitt has signed with the Falcons practice squad, per Colquitt’s agent, Paul Sheehy.
Atlanta has seemingly chalked it up with their current starting punter, Cameron Nizialek. The former AAF player had a horrendous outing in the team’s Week 2 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Nikzialek had four punts in that game for a total of 157 yards — an average of 39.2 yards per punt — per Pro Football Reference.
The most notable punt in that game for Nikzialek — and for bad reasons — was a fourth-quarter boot that went just 33 yards, setting up Tom Brady and the Buccaneers’ offense at the Falcons’ own 43-yard line. That ensuing Tampa Bay drive ended in a touchdown, putting an end to a run for Atlanta which included 14 unanswered points, bringing the Falcons’ deficit to just three points with a score of 28-25. The Buccaneers closed out the game scoring 21 unanswered points following that disastrous punt, two of which were interceptions returned for touchdowns by Tampa Bay’s defense.
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Colquitt began his NFL career on rare terms. The Chiefs drafted him in the third round — a very early spot in the draft to select a punter — of the 2005 NFL Draft. Colquitt remained in Kansas City for a total of 14 seasons, registering a total of 1,124 punts, 50,393 yards, with an average of 44.8 yards per punt and a long of 81 yards, per Pro Football Reference. He also had 41.1% of his punts downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, per Chiefs Focus.
Colquitt’s name resurfaced within Chiefs Kingdom early in 2021 due to him signing with Kansas City’s practice squad on January 7. The move occurred after the Baltimore Ravens signed punter Johnny Townsend, brother of Kansas City’s starting punt, Tommy Townsend, off of the Chiefs’ practice squad on December 31, according to Sports Illustrated’s Joshua Brisco.
“Dustin is one of the greatest Chiefs of all-time, and I’m grateful I had the opportunity to coach him these past seven years,” head coach Andy Reid said of Colquitt following his release in 2020, via Brisco. “The longevity of his career here in Kansas City shows you just how consistently he has performed at a high level. Beyond his impact on the field, he was a great teammate and leader. I will always be a huge Dustin Colquitt fan.”
Townsend Has Filled Colquitt’s Roll Well
The departure of Colquitt in 2020 brought about the arrival of Townsend, who signed with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent out of Florida. During the 2020 regular season, Townsend averaged 45.5 yards per punt; his best game of the season came in Week 15 against the New Orleans Saints in which he tallied a career-high three punts inside the Saints’ 20-yard line, earning him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors, according to the Chiefs official website.
One of the worst outings in Townsend’s rookie season was in Super LV against the Buccaneers, in which he averaged 36.6 yards per punt on three total punts, per Pro Football Reference. However, he has put the terrible outing behind him and has put forth another strong effort in 2021. Through two games in the 2021 regular season, Townsend has averaged 45.2 yards per punt, with a long of 54 yards, and dropped two punts inside the Ravens’ 20-yard line during the Chiefs’ 36-35 loss to Baltimore in Week 2.
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