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Elam's replacement nails 68-yarder at camp

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

One of the Broncos' biggest question marks is at kicker in the absence of Jason Elam. He departed Denver to go to Atlanta as a free agent after 15 productive seasons. The team nabbed Matt Prater, an inexperienced but strong-legged kicker as Elam's replacement early in the offseason. The move was met with extraordinary skepticism.

However, eight days into training camp, Prater has been impressive. He made heads turn Saturday by making a 68-yard field goal. Sixty-eight yards. Yes, it was only a practice 37 days before Denver's season opener, but 68 yards is impressive in any situation.

"I didn't even know we were going to go back that far today," Prater said after today's practice. "It wasn't in the script. We went back to 68 (yards). I just tried to keep it straight, and it went through."

Denver coach Mike Shanahan was not surprised. He trusts Prater's cannon leg.

"You just watch him kick off. When you watch a guy kick off and (he) kicks it sometimes 10 yards out of the end zone, his leg strength is probably up to 75-78 yards," Shanahan said after today's practice. "That would have been good at 73 or 74 (yards) right there. He does not kick any harder. He has the same swing consistently. Hopefully he can make the ones inside the 45. Every once in a while, depending on what the situation is, a guy gets a chance to attempt one of those, but usually it's at the end of a half or the end of a game."