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Old 12-10-2005, 12:10 AM   #1
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Default Special teams looking to bounce back

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05344/620345.stm

Saturday, December 10, 2005

By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



Bill Cowher called out his special teams the other day, citing their inefficient performance as one of the top three reasons the Steelers have lost three games in a row after starting with a 7-2 record.

Steelers coach Bill Cowher believes that special teams play is one of the top three reasons the team has lost three in a row.
The criticism was not lost on several members of the kick-coverage unit, an area that has cost the Steelers in two of the past three games.

"We just got to get our swagger back and get after it," said defensive end Brett Keisel, the wedge-buster on the kick team. "We know we have the guys out there to get it done. We just got to do it."

The Steelers have allowed an average of 33.7 yards per kick return and 10.3 yards on punts the past three games. Included in that is a 94-yard kick return against Cincinnati that set up the Bengals' next-to-last touchdown in their 38-31 victory here Sunday.

Keisel said he was one of the culprits on that play because he slipped running down the field and lost his lane assignment. But he said he doesn't want the recent long returns to make the coverage unit more tentative.

"You get a little on the edge because instead of running down and worrying about your lane and your gap, you're trying to make up for other guys," Keisel said. "It might make you play a little softer. This week, we'll be ready to rock. We have to."

Cowher did not blame kicker Jeff Reed for shorter kicks, saying the colder temperatures late in the season prevent the ball from traveling higher and farther.

The Chicago Bears (9-3), who will be at Heinz Field for a 1 p.m. game tomorrow, have improved their kick coverage the past nine games, and some of the credit has been given to the high kickoffs of rookie Robbie Gould of Penn State. The Bears have gone from an average of 25.6 yards per return to 20.2 yards in that span.

"I think we have to be more conscious of that, but it really doesn't change your approach how we're going to cover or the type of effort we're going to give," said special-teams captain Sean Morey. "You have to adjust accordingly if it's a short kick, make sure you two-gap and keep the ball in front of you instead of penetrating on deeper, higher kicks, like early in the year. Those give you an opportunity to penetrate and run by blockers."
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

Our ST have been horrific in the last month.. a unit that relied on to make big plays and create field position has ended doing just that.... for the other team!

Last week Cowher challenged the OL, this week the ST.... the OL responded and played better so hopefully the ST will too.
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

special teams is who i blame for the loss on sunday. also i wish we could get a kicker with a boot and just use reed to make extra points and 3 point attempts, cause he has no power at all on kickoffs, i saw them trying to blame it on the weather but he was kicking them short in san deigo and the weeks before that
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Old 12-10-2005, 12:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

Jeff's kickoff's have been very short this year in general but especially in the last week. hell even in the dome he was kicking them short. if we had the roster spot it would be nice to sign a guy to do nothing but kick off every time into the endzone when we needed it. Jeff is a good directional kicker for kickoffs for the most part, but just cant seem to get it into the endzone.
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

Our ST Better Bounce Back Or Else.
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

We 2 Quincy Morgan back there... He's head and shoulders above Coc back there on kickoffs.
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

They have got to do better, cant do much worse!
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

i don't really get why ricardo does kickoffs, he ain't fast, he had a good preseason but since his injury it seems like he afraid to go full speed
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Old 12-11-2005, 03:27 PM   #9
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

Els return could have been a good start to a bounce back, then the yellow flag!
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Old 12-11-2005, 04:33 PM   #10
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Default Re: Special teams looking to bounce back

Yeah, there was yellow snow all over the field. Thankfully it wasn't ST pissing down both legs on kickoff coverage but intstead flags on returns. It's pretty bad when flags on returns are almost okay because at least they don't give the other team great field position. Hopefully this game was the first step in turning it around for a unit that has disappointed for a couple of years now.
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