Denver's Prater showing some leg

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
I have to give the Dever Broncos credit for believing in kicker Matt Prater.

They saw something in the kid. Denver special teams coach Scott O'Brien told me numerous times that Prater, picked up late last year, could be special. The Broncos felt so good about Prater they didn't go out of their way to re-sign legend Jason Elam even though he won four of Denver's seven victories in the final seconds and was a beloved star for 15 seasons in Denver. Elam ended up signing in Atlanta.

The Broncos were ready to stick with Prater though he entered this season with four NFL field goal attempts. It was a major risk.

So far it is working. Even though, Prater hasn't been put in a position to win or lose a game with a late field goal attempt, he has shown he has a big leg.

He hit a 55-yard field goal in the second quarter to tie the game with Tampa Bay at 3-3. The field goal easily sailed through the cross bars. Prater has made all four of his field goal attempts of 50 yards or longer. Prater just hit a 40-yarder to give Denver a 6-3 lead late in the second quarter. Prater also routinely kicks the ball deep into the end zone for touchbacks on kickoffs.

The guy has a big-league leg. Couple Prater's leg strength and the thin Denver air and the NFL record long of a 63-yard field goal, which Elam holds a share of, could someday be in jeopardy.