A healthy Dustin Colquitt vital for Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt made the AFC’s Pro Bowl team last season, in large part because of his ability to drop the ball inside the 20. Colquitt is at it again. This season, 15 of his 32 kicks have gone inside the 20.

Otherwise, Colquitt is at an unfamiliar spot in the punter statistics. With a 41.8-yard average, he ranks second from the bottom among the 33 punters listed this week.

Colquitt is rarely near the top in punting average in part because he gives up some yards with his nice touch inside the 20. He’s also fighting a knee injury that almost knocked him out of the game against the New York Giants two weeks ago.

Colquitt is still punting, but hasn’t looked quite right since the injury, a fact confirmed by special team coordinator Dave Toub.

“I’m not a doctor," Toub said. “I just know he’s not all the way there. He’s feeling a lot better this week. He’s going to get better as we go. He’s on the mend."

A healthy Colquitt is important for the Chiefs, who don’t get a lot of big plays or score a lot of points with their offense. They’re dependent on winning the field position battle and having Colquitt available to drop a punt inside the 20 or hit a booming kick to get them out of trouble is vital.

One sign of Colquitt’s struggles came last week. Colquitt shanked a nine-yard punt in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans. The Chiefs have had problems protecting Colquitt this season, though not on that particular play, and it might have been a factor in the lousy punt.

“We’ve had some issues with protection, and it was a low snap," Toub said. “He rushed it. He got up and tried to rush it, and there was nobody there. When you look at the tape later, you say, ‘What am I doing?’ But he rushed it. I’m sure he had snakes in his head from the past. That happens. That’s very unlike him. It won’t happen again with him."