View Full Version : Steelers' new kicker exudes confidence

11-18-2010, 05:57 AM
Steelers' new kicker exudes confidence

By Mark Kaboly
Thursday, November 18, 2010

Yes, Shaun Suisham missed a short field goal that could've handed 11-0 New Orleans its first loss last year while playing for Washington.

And, yes, Shaun Suisham missed a pair of field goals against Minnesota in the playoffs while with Dallas a few weeks later.

But the Steelers' new kicker had a clear message for the doubters who say the clean-cut boy from Wallaceburg, Ontario, is going to get eaten alive by what eventually led to Jeff Reed's demise the fans, the negativity brought on by the media and the turf at Heinz Field.

"I don't plan on missing any field goals," Suisham said.

But what about the media scrutiny that seemed to drive Reed crazy?

"I found it in my best interest to not read anything good or bad because I don't want it to affect how I prepare or what I do," Suisham said.

What about the poor Heinz Field turf conditions that Reed complained about after his final game with the team?

"I kicked very well there (Tuesday). Whatever team you are playing against, the other kicker is playing on the same field. It is even for everybody."

When the Steelers released the popular Reed on Tuesday and proclaimed they chose to go in a different direction, they meant it.

Judging by his calm demeanor, clean-cut, country-boy looks and positive attitude, Suisham seems quite different than the oft-troubled, outgoing Reed.

The Steelers are hoping Suisham can perform better than Reed has recently.

They chose Suisham after he worked out Tuesday at Heinz Field, where he kicked 10 to 12 field goals and kicked off 4 or 5 times all into the open end of the stadium.

"I think I kicked well," Suisham said. "I am here to kick field goals. I am going to do everything I can possibly do to put myself in the best position on the weekends and hopefully I can help this team win some games."

First thing Suisham has to do is get familiarized with holder Dan Sepulveda.

"He's in a little bit of a different position than Jeff was," Sepulveda said. "His rhythm is a little bit different, and what's so big for snap-hold-kick is rhythm and knowing the guys you are around."

Suisham's career stats are very similar to Reed's. Suisham has converted 79 percent of his career kicks, while Reed was slightly better at 81 percent. The biggest difference comes in kicks from 40-49 yards. Reed converted 66 percent over his career and Suisham 76 percent.

"I never anticipate missing, but when it does happen you move on to the next play," Suisham said. "I never carry the misses or makes with me."

That was evident last year when he missed a critical 23-yard field goal late in a game against undefeated New Orleans that would've put the score out of reach. The Saints rallied and won the game in overtime. Suisham was released two days later.

He was picked up by playoff-bound Dallas for the final two games of the regular season and went 5 of 6 before missing two not-so-critical, 40-plus-yard field goals in a 34-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

"He missed some critical kicks that just didn't go his way," said receiver Antwaan Randle El, who played with Suisham in Washington. "That's a tough situation, but it's good to have him. It's a tough deal, but if we had to get somebody else, Suisham was a good pickup."

Suisham was released by Dallas in the offseason and spent time in Cleveland and St. Louis camps this summer. He tried out for Detroit as recently as last week before catching on with the Steelers.

"It's part of being a kicker in the NFL," Suisham said. "I love it. You sure learn to appreciate it a lot more when you are home watching football games."

REed REaction

A day after the Steelers released Jeff Reed, his teammates talked about the kicker, who had been with the team since 2002.

"Jeff was a locker room favorite and close to a lot of guys. We won a lot of games with Jeff. When you lose a guy like that, it always hurts. He just went through a slump. I would've loved for them to keep him, but it is not my job or not my say so. Coach (Mike) Tomlin and the organization decided to release him, so we are moving on."

Wide receiver Hines Ward

"He was disappointed because he wanted to be able to help this team, but we've got to do what's best for the team and that's what coach (Mike) Tomlin does. (Reed) is going to get called at some point, whether it's this year or at the end of the year. He's going to be ready and he's going to kick well for somebody."

Long snapper Greg Warren

"It was a wake-up call for everybody. No one person is bigger than the team. Every time he went out there to kick a field goal, we always believed he was going to make it. Everybody goes through this. Everybody can't play well every time, but he had a lot of pressure on him."

Inside linebacker James Farrior

"He texted me yesterday, and I couldn't believe it at first. We talked briefly. What do you say other than you wish him the best and you're going to miss him."

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

Mark Kaboly can be reached at mkaboly@dailynewsemail.com or 412-664-9161.

11-18-2010, 01:33 PM
See ya later "The Hot Chic"



11-19-2010, 02:28 AM
I'll give him three games before formulating an opinion.

11-19-2010, 05:23 AM
I wish him nothing but good luck and hope he is known as a hero of our season. And also hope he knows how to keep his big yapper shut! One of my favorite Steelers kickers was Norm Johnson ... I don't really remember him saying more than two words. Oh I'm sure he spoke, but he didn't say much that was controversial and therefore didn't make the press.

11-19-2010, 12:53 PM
He honestly can do any worse than Reed has done this year.