Steeler Nation, as we approach the starting date of Steelers training camp, you can feel something a little special in the air! What better time to take a look at the Steelers special teams. Here is our Steelers Special Teams break down.
State of the Special teams …
When talking Steelers special teams there is one consistent player that you have to mention first and that player is kicker Shaun Suisham . The Steelers special teams has not always been pretty but Suisham is the one constant . In 2013 he made 93.8 percent (30-for-32) of his field goals including 91.3 percent (21-of-23) from 30-49 yards. Plus made 100% of his field goals at Heinz Field. The Steelers kicking game is in great hands with Shaun Suisham .
As consistent as the kicker has been the punting has been just as inconsistent. The Steelers punt team has been a revolving door of average to below average punters for years now. In 2013 the Steelers began the season with punter Zoltan Mesko and ended it with Mat McBrier. Both were average at best, so the Steelers elected to start from scatch in 2014 bringing in veteran punter Adam Podlesh and free agent Brad Wing .
In the return game the Steelers would love to take those duties away from Antonio Brown and may have had that in mind when they drafted Dri Archer. Archer has mind-blowing speed and is capable at both kickoff returns and punt returns.
The bottom line is the Steelers are set at kicker with one of the most reliable in the league in Shaun Suisham . The punting game must improve and has two new contestants readying for a camp battle in Adam Podlesh and Brad Wing .
The Steelers need Dri Archer to come through in the return game so the Steelers can relieve their number one receiver Antonio Brown of those duties.
A look at the Special team players…
Shaun Suisham: Suisham signed with the Steelers in 2010 and has been one of the most accurate kickers ever since. He made 93.8(30-32)of his field goals last season and 100% at Heinz Field. Suisham shows no signs of slowing down.
Adam Podlesh: Podlesh (5-11, 200) was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth round of the 2007 draft out of Maryland. He punted four seasons with Jacksonville before punting for the Chicago Bears from 2011 through 2013.
The Chicago Bears released Adam Podlesh in early March of this year as a salary cap saving move. He has a career average of 42.4 yards per punt and of 467 career punts only 190 were returned with none being returned for a touchdown. He has a career long punt of 76 yards.
Brad Wing:Punter Brad Wing was an undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2013 , who was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles and cut that same summer. Wing was a first-team All-American and a Ray Guy Award Semifinalist in 2011 while at LSU. He had a career average of 44.6 while punting at LSU. He was originally from Melbourne, Australia.
Dri Archer: Archer excelled on special teams at Kent State, returning 51 kickoffs for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns. The Steelers tested him on punt returns at Mini Camp and it looks as though he is comfortable with returning punts. The Steelers plan on using his 4.26 speed to their every advantage and hope they have found a new return ace.
Greg Warren: Warren is heading into his 10th season as the Steelers long snapper and has been very reliable when healthy. Many have tried to take his spot over the years all have failed.
Bryce Davis: Davis is a long snapper that was an undrafted free agent out of Central Oklahoma in 2012 , who was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals and spent part of the 2012 season on the Bengals’ practice squad before being released in August 2013. He also plays tight end. Davis will try to beat out Warren for long snapping duties.
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