PDA

View Full Version : Steelers have a 'special' problem


83-Steelers-43
08-12-2007, 11:15 PM
Steelers seek solution for shaky special teams
By Mike Prisuta
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Monday, August 13, 2007

It has taken two preseason games for the Steelers to expose and "compound" what coach Mike Tomlin has identified as a "glaring problem" in their kicking game.

Imagine where they might be had they not practiced special teams every day in training camp.

The intensity will be turned up yet another notch this week in the wake of kicker Jeff Reed having his only extra-point attempt blocked in Saturday night's 13-9 preseason loss to Green Bay.

The Steelers had a successful 29-yard Reed field goal negated by a holding penalty against tight end Jon Dekker, who lined up as one of the wings on the field goal/PAT team, in their 20-7 victory over New Orleans in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 5. Reed converted the 39-yard re-kick.

Reed was also pressured from the outside on a 42-yard attempt against the Saints, but said that didn't contribute to his miss.

Substandard field goal/PAT protection made "The News" that Tomlin delivered to his team following the New Orleans game.

"We showed a glaring weakness from that standpoint last week," Tomlin said Saturday night. "We talked about it last week that when you show signs of weakness like that in the kicking game people are going to come after you.

"The problem has been compounded. Great. We're going to have to respond to adversity. We're going to have to go back to work this week, and the secret is there is no secret. We're going to put our pads on. We're going to practice field goals and we're going to practice blocking field goals, and that's what I told the football team."

In addition to a daily emphasis on the kicking game during afternoon workouts at St. Vincent College, the Steelers have devoted a series of one-hour morning practices to special teams.

They have practiced just about everything imaginable, from returns and coverage to one-on-one techniques to various forms of special teams trickery.

They have worked with volleyballs, Nerf balls and orange hoops placed on the ground to identify rush lanes.

They have worked with footballs attached to sticks to simulate snaps. And they have worked with two special teams coaches, Bob Ligashesky and Amos Jones, for the first time in franchise history.

But there's at least one thing they haven't done.

"We haven't had any type of deals where we go full contact with that in practice," said defensive end Brett Keisel, one of the first-team wings on the field goal/PAT unit.

That changes this week, either today or, as Reed assumed, on Tuesday.

"It'll probably be in all week," Reed said. "Hopefully, nobody gets hurt, but I guess you have to do what you have to do to get ready for the season."

Reed was ready to give the Steelers a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter against the Packers when Green Bay defensive end Michael Montgomery shot between long-snapper Greg Warren and right guard Chris Kemoeatu.

Reed saw only "a big dude right in my face."

"It was probably just a blown assignment," he said. "I know I got the ball up on that one; it felt good. It's one of those things. Whoever it was, he was probably three yards from me when he blocked it."

Players have grumbled about the Steelers' newfound obsession with special teams, publicly in the spring and privately in camp, and have suggested the efforts might be at least partially misdirected.

Now, they'll go live until Tomlin is satisfied.

"We shouldn't have a wrinkle in teams anywhere because we do spend more time than ever on it," Keisel said. "Right now our technique's not there. Guys gotta know they gotta get down lower or they're gonna get put on their back."

Keisel offered a potentially humorous solution.

"I think we should just go for two every time," he said.

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_521882.html

Atlanta Dan
08-13-2007, 07:44 AM
Seems as if there is still an undercurrent of discontent with the new regime.

Getting PAT attempts blocked does not constitute a ringing endorsement of whatever has changed with regard to special teams training.

zoneblitz43
08-13-2007, 08:47 AM
there needs to be more emphasis on special teams. last years special teams play was terrible.

rbryan
08-13-2007, 10:06 AM
The kick coverage has been better so far. That was the worst part of last years ST aside from the fumbles by Colclough, Holmes.

83-Steelers-43
08-13-2007, 10:10 AM
there needs to be more emphasis on special teams.

That's what makes this problem all the more alarming in my opinion. Tomlin has been stressing and practicing ST's since day one at Latrobe. The emphasis is there, but it's not clicking.

Livinginthe past
08-13-2007, 10:13 AM
Maybe they are working on a some type of new ST system and its taking awhile for everyone to get their assignments down?

Getting an XP blocked is pretty bad, a reserve O-line guy like Chris Kemoeatu should be doing everything in his power to make the step up to the first team.

I think ST can be a real window into the mentality of a team, it relies on so much teamwork.

fansince'76
08-13-2007, 10:19 AM
That's what makes this problem all the more alarming in my opinion. Tomlin has been stressing and practicing ST's since day one at Latrobe. The emphasis is there, but it's not clicking.

I'm not too concerned about it yet. I'm just thinking how mediocre our STs have been for so long now and figure that Rome wasn't built in a day.

Black@Gold Forever32
08-13-2007, 10:21 AM
One blocked extra point and the sky is falling......

The kick coverage units look better...I know its just pre-season but that area does looked to be improved......Hell Sepulveda the minute he was drafted was an upgrade.......He should kick off to since Reed sucks at kickoffs.lol

I'm not get to bent out of shape about a blocked extra point in the pre-season...Its pre-season...who cares.lol This is the time to have extra points blocked....I'm sure Tomlin will do what he has to to correct that problem....

83-Steelers-43
08-13-2007, 10:23 AM
I'm not too concerned about it yet. I'm just thinking how mediocre our STs have been for so long now and figure that Rome wasn't built in a day.

While I understand it's early and that it's not the end of the world....yet, I remember thinking/talking about the same thing last season. Next thing you know, we were watching Colclough and Holmes fumble balls, Reed not looking all that great outside the 45 and teams starting out on our 40+.

It can kill you and it does concern me to a degree. Eh, I figured since many were praising Ben's play to no end after only two preseason games, concern with Willie resting his knee, Timmons being a bust and a foam mascot that has absolutely nothing to do with what happens on the field, it would be fine to point out a special teams problem that hurt us all season last year.

Atlanta Dan
08-13-2007, 10:44 AM
I assume they will get blocking on the PAT straightened out - how hard can it be?

I find it more noteworthy that the players are griping about the emphasis on ST practice.

Since it is not your Pro Bowl players that are on ST, it seems to me that this team, on all levels, is still not all on board with Tomlin. This might result in some surprising cuts among the marginal vets, since Tomlin presumably knows who is griping.

klick81
08-13-2007, 11:02 AM
While I understand it's early and that it's not the end of the world....yet, I remember thinking/talking about the same thing last season. Next thing you know, we were watching Colclough and Holmes fumble balls, Reed not looking all that great outside the 45 and teams starting out on our 40+.



Exactly. If this does not get fixed, it WILL come back to bite us on the ass in the regular season or even worse, the playoffs.

onthebus36
08-13-2007, 11:12 AM
I agree it's noteworthy that players are griping but who are those players and what are they complaining about?

If you are an STer training to make the team and you are complaining about practice, you probably aren't going to make the 53 anyway.

If it's a veteran, that could be a different story but again, not necessarly. As you noted, I think we'll see some marginal veterans departing shortly.

Also, how much of those comments are just media hype. The media seems to be in one of two camps: the "players haven't bought in" camp or the "Tomlin is the next HOF coach" camp.

Don't get me wrong, I think there are real concerns with special teams. I also think there are some promising improvements. I also think it was pretty clear they were trying some new things and new people in different positions so that could explain some of the blown assignments, late arrivals, and other miscues.

Reason for concern? Sure. Something to watch? Absolutely. End of the world? Not at all.

SCSTILLER
08-13-2007, 02:35 PM
Was this play (blocked field goal) the one where the OLineman ran in from the sidelines as the blockers were lining up? If it was maybe that had something to do with it.

I have to say that I am not extremely worried about the special teams right now. Kick coverage has improved tremendously, serious upgrade at punter. But the line letting a guy walk right through the middle is terrible. Reed missing a simple field goal, but again it is preseason. Hope with a few more weeks of practice everything will get ironed out! Will wait and see.

83-Steelers-43
08-15-2007, 08:54 AM
that the players are griping about the emphasis on ST practice.

There seems to be a good bit of that going around since Camp Tomlin Day 1. IMO, that tells me Tomlin is doing something right.

In years past you have heard players comment on how hot is at Latrobe this time of year. That was the main complaint. Then you heard about movie nights, show and tell Tuesdays, arts and crafts Thursdays, veterans getting easy treatment compared to the rooks and automatically having the first Sunday off.

Now you see interviews by the players on KDKA news and FSN Pittsburgh and they are complaining about how hot it is, but also how they were waiting for that first day off in the beginning of camp, the two a days and how they were used to getting that first Sunday off.

To the players.........Welcome to Mike Tomlin's world of getting a team ready for the regular season after coming off an 8-8 season.