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Mailbag: What Makes A Good Special Teamer?


Here's something I can't recall you discussing: Aside from the obvious specialists - kicker, punter, long snapper – how will Keith O'Quinn and the rest of the special teams coaches put together the respective special teams units? I understand that some guys like Zeke, Dak and Sean will be off limits but what makes the other guys eligible or ineligible for consideration? - JOEY ARNEL SAYSON / SANTA MONICA, CA

Bryan:Really good question. When you put your team together you always have to think about players that can and cannot play on teams. With the new rules on kickoff and kickoff return you have to have guys tailored to handle those responsibilities, as well. I believe you're going to need smaller, quicker guys like defensive backs and receivers as your cover guys. It appears that O'Quinn is going to lean on his tight ends and linebackers initially. 

David: This is why we always say that guys who might not crack the starting lineup need to be ready for special teams. To handle the amount of running and coverage, you want fast, physical players. That is why so many backup running backs, receivers, defensive backs and linebackers play special teams. You obviously also need some linemen for certain teams, and that is why guys like Travis Frederick still play a role despite being starters. But speed and physicality are big components of the job.

With everything being said about how good Tavon looks in the first few days, how is Michael Gallup developing now that he has some reps in pads. Does he look like a lock for one of the top four receiver spots? - WILLIAM ADAMO / NORMAN, MA

Bryan: Gallup has done a nice job overall. Release and routes coming along well. Been consistent for the most part catching the ball. Had a rough day out on Sunday not finishing. He was fighting the ball. Bet he's better on Tuesday.

David: The coaches would not want to admit this, but Gallup is a lock simply by virtue of being a high draft pick. Fortunately, the early returns look really promising. I personally am not ready to project him for the starting lineup, but I think he will be ready to contribute in some fashion right away.

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