Justin Tucker must be up there with the Denver altitude. The Baltimore Raven is a real good kicker. But he’s not that good.
Tucker said that if he played in Denver and the conditions were perfect, he could kick an 84-yard field goal.
The claim brought a laugh from Broncos’ kicker Brandon McManus.
“I will give him an all-expense paid trip if he can do it,’’ said McManus, who made five field goals of at least 50 yards last year and was 10 of 10 in the postseason. “I’ll pay for his flight, his hotel, if he wants to come out here and do it. I’ll kick with him, I’ll witness it and I’ll vouch to the world that he can do it.’’
For the season opener last season on a warm Sunday afternoon, Tucker said he hit the crossbar from 85 yards during pregame. That’s how he figured he could hit from 84.
McManus said he watched Tucker make some field goals from the mid-70s during warmups last year, but he was kicking the ball where it would have hit the defensive lineman in the face. That’s how low he was kicking.
In other words, Tucker might be able to kick a ball 84 yards in Denver, but he can’t kick an 84-yard field goal.
Such remarks about Denver’s altitude disparage the accomplishments of Broncos kickers. Matt Prater kicked his NFL-record 64-yard field goal in a December, 2013 game when the game-time temperature was 14 degrees. The football must have felt like a brick.
As Bronco fans are painfully aware, Tucker is a clutch kicker. His 47-yard field goal in frigid conditions gave the Ravens a walk-off, 38-35 double overtime playoff stunner against the Broncos in a 2012-season playoff game.
But in terms of length, Tucker’s career-high field goal is 61 yards. The Colorado Rockies baseball team, citing an early 1990s study, have long said the ball travels about 9 percent farther at 5,280 feet than at sea level. So we’ll give Tucker the potential of hitting a 66-or 67-yard field goal in Denver – everything being perfect, which includes game situation.
But an 84-yarder is absurd.
Weems steps up
When Darrion Weems moved in to play right guard with the Broncos’ first-team offense Thursday, it brought back memories of his time with the Broncos in 2012. If only people could remember.
Weems, 27, was undrafted out of Oregon in 2012, then played with five teams his rookie season. He was signed by Minnesota, and also ended up in the locker rooms for the New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Broncos (practice squad) and Dallas Cowboys, where he stuck through the 2015 season.
In those four seasons, Weems has played in one regular-season game – the season opener for the Cowboys last year, before he returned to the practice squad.
Injuries to the Broncos’ projected starting guards Max Garcia (ankle sprain) and Ty Sambrailo (hyperextended elbow) moved Weems into first-string guard for a few sets Thursday.
“Weems is really starting to look like a pretty good football player for this team,” said Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak. “We are trying to give him every opportunity.’’
Marlon Brown’s back never came around so the Broncos waived/injured the veteran NFL receiver Thursday. He was replaced on the roster by rookie offensive tackle Sam Carlson of Colorado State.
Had Brown been healthy he would have had a chance to make the Broncos’ season-opening roster. Now the competition for the final four receiver spots behind starters Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders is reduced to six players – Bennie Fowler, Jordan Norwood, Cody Latimer, Jordan Taylor, Kalif Raymond and DeVier Posey.
The Broncos had starting cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (hamstring) and backup corner Kayvon Webster (quad) sit out practice Thursday. Lorenzo Doss, Taurean Nixon and B.J. Lowery got more reps. ...
The team announced Conor McGahey as its new game-day public address announcer this season.