Broncos kicker Brandon McManus showed up with a plan 'to get it right'

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos special-teams coordinator Brock Olivo has a theory about kickers and slumps.

At some point, it's a given the two will go together.

"We always say there are two types of kickers -- those who have gone through a slump and those who are going to go through a slump," Olivo said. "That's the ebb and flow that you get naturally with a young kicker. The most important thing is, how do those kickers react to that? How does he react to going through this slump? How does he come out of it? You have to find out what the cause is."

Another given in the league is that kickers don't always get as much time as they'd like to work it all out. Broncos kicker Brandon McManus is indeed in a slump after missing five kicks already, all in home games. But in September, before the regular season began, his contract was extended three years for $11.25 million ($6 million guaranteed). So his current struggles are costly on and off the field for the Broncos.

After he missed two field goal attempts in Denver's 23-10 loss to the New York Giants on Sunday night -- those two misses brought his season total to five, or the same number he missed during the Broncos' Super Bowl season in 2015 and again in 2016 -- Olivo said the fourth-year kicker showed up to work Monday with a plan for a repair.

On top of the to-do list was for Olivo to create as many pressure situations in practice as possible.

"That's not easy to do. Your heartbeat is naturally going to be higher during the game because you're under pressure," Olivo said. "We try to do that, that's one way. That was to his point. It was his suggestion. He said, 'Hey, create this for me. Do this for me.' He came in with a whole laundry list of stuff that he wanted to do -- to his credit. He's been great about it."

The slump is slightly baffling to the Broncos because McManus missed just five kicks in 2015 and was 10-of-10 that postseason as Denver went on to win Super Bowl 50. Last season, when the team went 9-7 and missed the playoffs, he went 29-of-34 on field goal attempts, and three of the misses were from beyond 50 yards. One was a 62-yard attempt against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph has been steadfast in his support, saying, "He's our guy." McManus, Joseph and Olivo have also consistently said that McManus hasn't missed kicks in practice or even during his usual pregame warm-up. But the games, however, have been an entirely different matter.

Or as McManus put it: "It's just the games, and right now in the games I stink ... right now, I have to get it going in games."

A key person in all of this is Broncos special-teams assistant Chris Gould, a former kicker and punter at Virginia. Gould has been with the Broncos for the past three seasons and his brother, Robbie, is in his 12th season as an NFL kicker.

Olivo said McManus has been proactive in his discussions with Gould, and the Broncos have added drills and meetings before and after practices.

"(McManus) came to us immediately after (the Giants) game and said, 'Look fellas,' to Chris Gould and I, 'I have to get it right. It's on me.' He took responsibility for it and he's been a great pro about it," Olivo said. "He said, 'You guys have to help me. What are we going to do? Let's implement these drills and let's meet extra here.' He's been awesome about it. I have no doubt that B-Mac is going to come out of this slump."

In the difficulties, there is a bit of good news in that McManus has avoided consecutive misses in games thus far. Even in Sunday night's loss to the Giants, McManus made a 28-yard field goal between his miss from 35 yards and the 53-yard attempt that was blocked.

"(It's) very important," Olivo said. "The thing you look at when a kicker misses a kick is, what is he doing the next one? How does he bounce back from that? That's a telltale sign of the guy's character and his fortitude under pressure. (McManus) has been good at that traditionally. Again, he is going to do whatever he has to do to get back in the groove. I have no doubt that he's going to be all right."