Not guaranteed a whole lot of job security, Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater spent the last couple of years living out of a hotel suite. Now he can officially start looking for a place of his own.
Prater made 19 of 25 field goal attempts a year ago, including a bevy of clutch kicks late in games. He also led the league in touchback percentage as teams were unable to return more than 70 percent of his kicks. He was rewarded with a four-year contract earlier this week, reportedly worth more than $3 million per season.
Matt Prater joined 102.3 The Fan in Denver with CJ and Kreckman to discuss what he missed when he was out of OTAs because he had been franchised, what he was up to during OTAs, the importance of kicking off for touchbacks, his favorite highlight of last year, the possibility of kicking fewer field goals with Peyton Manning at quarterback and celebrating his new deal by looking for a place to live.
What do you think you missed in not being around the team during OTAs?:
“I think with all the new guys we’ve got on the team and we’ve got a new D-coordinator also, I think it’s just missing out on getting to know everybody and being comfortable with your teammates. I think having the team chemistry and them having confidence in me and me having confidence in them, too, is huge for teams. That’s probably the biggest thing. And I like to work out with the guys, too. It kind of stinks missing out on all that stuff.”
What were you doing while the OTAs were going on?:
“In the beginning, when I’m not kicking, I get back in the gym pretty quick and I break down the film. The Broncos guys, they give me a copy of all my kicks for the season. So I kind of study those and on the good kicks, learn why I was successful, and on the bad ones, learn from those so I don’t make the same mistake again.”
Over 70 percent of your kickoffs last year went for touchbacks. How important is that?:
“I definitely want to improve on it, especially kicking out in Denver where I have the advantage of playing half my games there. But I think for the defense, especially with how our defense plays, if they have to start at the 20 and have to drive it 80 yards to score a touchdown every time, the percentages go up for the defense stopping them.”
What was your personal highlight from 2011?:
“I’ve got to say the Chicago game just because it was later in the year and there were a couple seconds left and it was a longer kick. I like kicking those longer ones; I don’t know why, I just expect to make them every time. … I think just the situation of the game, and then getting to hit another 50-yarder in overtime to win it was pretty awesome.”
People are thinking, with Peyton Manning on board, there will be fewer field goals. Do you think about that at all?:
“I kind of just don’t expect anything, just be ready to kick. With Peyton coming to town, obviously I think we’re going to score more points, so there will be more extra points and more kickoffs for me. I’m not opposed to kicking extra points instead of field goals. It makes my job a lot easier.”
How do the many differences — quarterback, defensive coordinator, etc. — affect a high-profile kicker like yourself?:
“I don’t think it’ll change anything for me. I’m just going to keep going about my business and coming to work and doing my part, doing whatever I can to help the team. I don’t think it matters who’s the quarterback or who’s the coaches or whatever, I’m just going to keep doing my routine.”
What are you going to do to celebrate your new deal?:
“I don’t know. I haven’t thought about it. I’m looking forward to, I’m actually in the process of looking for a condo or townhouse, because I’ve actually lived in a hotel for the last five years. So I’m excited about moving out of the hotel.”
Why were you living in a hotel for five years?:
“Because I bought a house in Florida a couple years ago and just out here, it was real convenient for me. I was going two years in a row on a one-year deal so I didn’t want to buy a place and have to move.”