McManus driven by Fangio's refusal to let him go for record
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) - On a cold afternoon last December, an angry Brandon McManus ripped off his helmet and tossed it to the ground after Vic Fangio called him back to the sidelines when he was about to attempt a 65 record. Yard field goal.
When he got back from halftime, McManus positioned himself in just the right spot and sent the practice kick through the posts in the northern end zone, a not-so-subtle dig at Fangio for denying him the chance to hit Matt Prater's record 64-yarder who came into the same field six years earlier.
Fangio's argument for this was twofold: 1 second before halftime wasn't exactly a time of desperation, and more importantly, he said over the years that he'd seen kickers messing up their mechanics on extra long attempts.
"Does Hail Mary change the way a quarterback throws the ball?" McManus replied after his 53-yarder gave Denver a 23:20 win against the Chargers that day.
Fangio's fold continues to drive McManus, who has since scored 15 of 17 field goals, including two winners from 53 meters away.
His three field goals against the Jets last week included a pair taller than 50 yards, earning him the AFC Special Team Top Player Award for the first time in his seven-year NFL career.
"There are many positive things that come from playing angry and crazy," said McManus.
One of them is wealth.
McManus signed a four-year extension for $ 17.2 million on the eve of the season. So far, he's made six out of seven attempts, missing just one 58-yarder.
His only mistake in 10 attempts last season after Fangio denied him a chance to beat Prater's mark was from 57 meters. But that came on a day he scored 10 points in Denver's 16:15 win over the Raiders in the 2019 final.
"I wanted to try that kick as we all know and I have to keep doing everything under it to make sure it gives me this opportunity," said McManus.
Last week, McManus made all three of his field goal attempts (40, 54, 53) and all four of his extra points in a 37:28 win over the Jets, where he was also 8-8 on kickoff touchbacks.
His 53-yarder with 3:08 remaining gave the Broncos a 30-28 lead they would not give up. It also gave him his fifth career game with multiple 50-yard field goals, one behind Justin Tucker's record six.
It was also the second time in his career that he was in touch with multiple 50-yarders in the fourth quarter. The only other kickers who have ever done this are Martin Gramatica (three) and Stephen Gostkowski (two).
"Every time I step on the field, I have the greatest confidence in myself to get the kick," said McManus. '' Sometimes it doesn't work that way, sometimes it does. So far this season I've tried to stick to the longer ones rather than being excited about kicking them and going too fast. ''
It always looks like Brett Rypien will have his second start when the Broncos (1-3) visit New England (2-2). Drew Lock (right shoulder) trained again on Thursday, but Rypien got back most of the work on the first team.
Part of Lock's assessment, Fangio said, is to determine if he's mentally and physically ready to take a slap on his tender right shoulder, which can't really be known until he's back in a game.
Fangio said Lock's chances of playing this weekend wouldn't increase if the NFL decided to postpone Sunday's game because of the Patriots' COVID-19 cases.
"I don't think 24 hours would make that much difference in this case," said Fangio.
Safety Justin Simmons said the players are talking about the Tennessee Titans coronavirus outbreak, its impact on improved safety protocols and the possibility of the NFL season as a whole derailing.
However, Simmons said this crisis was something that was expected.
"Most of the people who signed up for the season knew there was going to be a bumpy road along the way," said Simmons.
Notes: TE Noah Fant (sprained right ankle) and OLB Jeremiah Attaochu (thigh) missed training again on Thursday and are questionable whether they will have to face the Patriots.
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