Special teams is the glue of the Denver Broncos

Associated Press Modified: November 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm •  Published: November 16, 2012

California cool.

"Yeah, real chilled, nothing bothers him, real calm," Prater said. "He's done a great job."

"Yes, he has," concurred Colquitt, whose 47-yard gross punting average is just shy of the 47.4-yard mark he established a year ago and who is once again among the league leaders in dropping punts inside the 20.

"It helps with Peyton around," Colquitt said. "We've had more punts closer to the 50 than last year."

That's not a knock on Tebow, mind you — Colquitt was as big a fan of No. 15 as anyone — but the workload the fourth-year punter got in 2011 is paying big dividends this year.

"It was almost like I played two years in one last year, I was out there so much," Colquitt said. "The field position mattered that much more. Now, I'm more rested, but definitely the experience from last year helped a lot and just to be more focused on: I might not punt that much this game, so I've got to make every one count."

Colquitt doesn't mind being more of a sideline spectator this season, and Prater said he'd love trotting out for extra points every time.

The wild-card in all this is Holliday, whom the Broncos snatched off waivers from Houston three weeks after getting a firsthand look at the short speedster in a loss to the Texans in Week 3.

"We felt like he had game-breaking ability and game-changing ability and it took a couple of weeks for that to really show up but certainly it's shown up," Rodgers said.

It was more his teammates adjusting to him than the other way around, too.

"We hadn't had that many long returns up until that point and the plays are going longer, and the longer the return, the longer guys are going to have to hold their blocks," Rodgers said.

Hiccups, however, have occurred.

Holliday flipped the ball out of his hands too quickly on his 105-yard kickoff return TD at Cincinnati and the NFL acknowledged this week that Holliday's 76-yard punt return at Carolina last week should have been ruled a touchback instead of a touchdown because the ball came out before he crossed the goal line.

So, the Broncos have now instituted the "Holliday Rule," where he has to hand the ball to Rodgers on the sideline the next time he scores.

And they certainly plan on him getting into the end zone again.

Notes: DE Elvis Dumervil said his sprained left shoulder held up well in limited duty at practice and he expects to play Sunday against San Diego: "It felt good. I tested it aggressively and I didn't aggravate anything." ... SLB Von Miller ($21,000) and DT Kevin Vickerson ($15,000) are both appealing their fines for hits on Carolina QB Cam Newton. ... CB Tracy Porter practiced Friday but will miss his fifth straight game. ... RG Chris Kuper (ankle) is doubtful. ... Coach John Fox hinted he'll put LB D.J. Williams on the 53-man roster this weekend. Williams returned this week from a pair of suspensions that sidelined him for the first nine games and cost him about $4 million.

___

Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

___

Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton