Atlanta’s punter situation has been pretty tumultuous in 2021. THe Falcons had Sterling Hofrichter and Dom Maggio competing, but it was Cameron Nizialek who came out of the summer with the punter job. After a couple of shaky weeks, Nizialek seemed to be rounding into form, but the Falcons signed Dustin Colquitt to the practice squad as insurance. Now they need that insurance, as Nizialek is on injured reserve and Colquitt will take over for Week 5’s London tilt.
It was a formality, but Marquice Williams confirmed on Thursday that Colquitt will be the team’s new punter. Younghoe Koo will take over on kickoffs.
Falcons ST coordinator Marquice Williams said the main difference between Cam Nizialek and Dustin Colquitt is how they like to do things directionally.— Michael Rothstein (@mikerothstein) October 7, 2021
Younghoe Koo will kickoff now, too.
Colquitt is 8th all-time in raw punting yardage and 11th in punts, a testament to a long career of quality work. He’s obviously in the twilight of that career and bounced around a bit last year for the first time, spending 6 games with the Steelers and Jaguars. The Falcons are hoping he’s still got plenty of life in his leg, and that he can provide them consistency and solid work as long as Nizialek is out.
Koo has handled kickoffs on a semi-regular basis over the past two years, so this is not a new role for him. The hyper-reliable kicker, who punted a couple of times last week with Nizialek out, has a good leg and is nails on onside attempts, but was 39th in the NFL in 2020 in terms of percentage of kicks that went for touchbacks. That’s really only a problem if Atlanta’s going to suffer the kinds of coverage lapses they did on Sunday, when Williams said someone’s missed lane assignment led to a huge return touchdown for Washington’s DeAndre Carter, and Koo was in the middle of the pack in that same metric back in 2019. He’ll be fine, is what I’m getting at.
In a final bit of special teams news, the Falcons now also have to replace Isaiah Oliver on special teams, as well. Oliver had played 38% of the special teams snaps to this point, which means that’s a role that needs filling. It’ll be interesting to see if they consider rookies Frank Darby or Darren Hall, who are fairly similar in size to Oliver and have yet to get significant work on special teams.
Marquice Williams said you're looking at the DB/WR room - that same body type - to replace someone like Isaiah Oliver on special teams. #Falcons— Tenitra Batiste (@tenitrabatiste) October 7, 2021
This has been your special teams housekeeping report for Sunday.