Steeler Nation, it seems like forever since the Steelers have had an above average punter. Whether its the hard luck story of former often injured punter Daniel Sepulveda, or the hold your breath and hope for the best season of Paul Ernster and Mitch Berger. The Steelers have not had much luck finding an above average punter that can be a difference maker on special teams.
In the last 5 seasons the Steelers punting game has finished no higher than 17th in the league. (18th 2012) (28th 2011) ( 17th 2010) (22nd 2009) (19th 2008)
Last season, rookie punter Drew Butler was solid at times but must work on his consistency to make it to the next level of good NFL caliber punters.
Butler’s 43.8 yards per punt last season was not bad but nothing spectacular, and a 37.8 net average has to get better.
In April, the Steelers signed punter Brian Moorman, a two-time Pro-Bowler and a member of the NFL all-decade team for the 2000s. Moorman has a good resume but is 37 years old with 12 seasons under his belt.11 with the Buffalo Bills.
Moorman punted for the Dallas Cowboys last season averaging 44.8 yards a punt and a 38.9 yard net average. It was reported in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Ray Fittipaldo, last week that Mike Tomlin and new special teams coach Danny Smith told Moorman:
“Come in, and we’ll have a competition and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Moorman has played for Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith and defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau before when they coached for the Buffalo Bills.
Here are some quotes from the article from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette by Ray Fittipaldo
Moorman :”My body feels great,” “I feel like I’m hitting the ball well. I do my best to stay in shape and do the things it takes to be ready and prepared for a season in the NFL. I love this game. I love to kick footballs. It’s a hobby. It’s not just a job to me.”
Moorman: “To have an opportunity to play in the playoffs was a big selling point to me, to be a part of this. I’ve been with coach LeBeau before. I know what he brings to the table. Every year, his defense is awesome.
Butler: “I fully expected competition,” Butler said. “Everyone competes at every position. To bring in a guy like Brian, his resume speaks for itself. I’m excited to compete.
Butler :”There’s always a standard for your second season and there’s a lot of room for improvement. I added some pounds and got stronger in the weight room. I worked on my kicking technique and form. I feel pretty good where I am now. My off-season went well, and I look forward to taking some momentum into camp.”
Will Butler make that second year leap from average to something special?
Will Moorman have enough left in his leg to finish his career the way it started?
Steelers Nation, it looks like the competition at punter is beginning to heat up. Lets hope that production from the punter position this season heats up as well.
Who do you think will be the Steelers starting punter in 2013 ?
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