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fordfixer
11-18-2009, 04:12 AM
Reed not to blame for kick coverage woes

http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-the- ... ox+Blog%29 (http://blog.triblive.com/view-from-the-press-box/2009/11/17/reed-not-to-blame-for-kick-coverage-woes/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+triblive%2Fblog%2FViewFromThe PressBox+%28View+from+the+Press+Box+Blog%29)

November 17th, 2009 The biggest surprise of the season for the Steelers -- and it is hardly a pleasant one -- is the alarming breakdowns they have experienced on their kickoff coverage team.

The unit that ranked first in the NFL last season (19.1 yards per return) has become a weak link on the Steelers.

And the regression the Steelers have experienced in that area of the game could lead to a significant shake-up of the unit -- one that may have started today when the Steelers signed Donovan Woods from the practice squad and released Arnold Harrison.

Of all the criticism that has been leveled at the kickoff coverage team, the one that is so much hot air is Jeff Reed’s culpability on the back end of the three touchdown returns the Steelers have allowed in the last four games.

Granted, Reed has unwittingly provided some recent comic relief. And he made “SportsCenter” last Sunday for the wrong reason by running past Bernard Scott as he if were crossing a street and Bengals’ return man was an oncoming car.

But to call out Reed for not bringing down Scott or Minnesota’s Percy Harvin on the latter’s kickoff return for a touchdown last month is simply misdirected fan anger.

“I am not going to get down to evaluating Jeff Reed as a tackler,” said Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who has been satisfied with Reed’s kickoffs. “When it comes down to that we’ve failed as a coverage unit as far as I’m concerned.”

Amen.

If a kicker is needed to stop a returner from taking one to the house, then it is gravy, a bonus, if he actually brings him down or slows him down enough for someone to make the tackle.

As Tomlin said, “I don’t lose any sleep over the quality of Jeff Reed’s tackles.”

Tomlin paused and then added, “Or tackle attempts.”

jj28west
11-18-2009, 07:13 AM
I am a Tomlin lover but there must be some things that Jeff can be taught to improve being at least an obstacle for the returner. Maybe 4 days field goal practice and kickoffs and one day studying how to be come a better obstacle and not a pedestrian.
I am not expecting for him to throw his body around like our safeties but you have the extra body so why not take advantage of it?

steelblood
11-18-2009, 08:41 AM
Maybe he is not to blame as a tackler (maybe). But, he is definitely culpable as a kicker. His kicks are so short that guys are catching them with a running start at the 10 or 15 yard line.

stlrz d
11-18-2009, 10:03 AM
Reed is not to blame for the kick coverage woes.

Correct.

Reed IS to blame for not making an attempt on the two occasions where he had an opportunity to.

Also correct.

SteelCrazy
11-18-2009, 10:10 AM
I'm not sure what kickers some have been watching make tackles, but I've seen kickers look as bad or even worse than Reed for 30+ years....They've been laughed at for looking totally goofy on tackle attempts for as long as I can remember. Reed is no different or worse.

Oviedo
11-18-2009, 10:15 AM
Maybe he is not to blame as a tackler (maybe). But, he is definitely culpable as a kicker. His kicks are so short that guys are catching them with a running start at the 10 or 15 yard line.

I totally agree. The other team does not even consider the possibility of having to down the ball in the endzone when he kicks off and the returner usually has a 5-6 yard head start before our coverage team even gets there. Shorter kicks can be accptable if you get great height and hang time but he obviously isn't doing that either.

Ghost
11-18-2009, 10:29 AM
It's not always on Reed for the shorter kickoffs. This is straight from Tomlin:

He also noted that what might, at times, seem like shorter kickoffs by Reed are planned as directional kicks, including the one returned 96 yards for a touchdown by Cincinnati's Bernard Scott, the only touchdown in the Bengals' 18-12 victory Sunday at Heinz Field.

"They have been adequate," Tomlin said of Reed's kickoffs. "We've got to do a better job covering. I liked the position and location of that kick to be honest with you. When you can pin somebody down in the corner and converge on the ball, usually you feel pretty good about it."

NWNewell
11-18-2009, 10:35 AM
Reed is not to blame for the kick coverage woes.

Correct.

Reed IS to blame for not making an attempt on the two occasions where he had an opportunity to.

Also correct.


Agreed. The real failure is in the coverage team. The kicker/punter should not be the one that needs to make the tackle.

However, when the occasion arises, you'd like to see a bit better effort when the guy is right in front of you.

I guess for us, it looks bad when he's blown several opportunities to make a better attempt (really shouldn't have even had the opportunities in the first place) and you compare that to the effort Sepulveda makes, Reed's effort looks pretty poor.

But Tomlin is taking the right approach. As a coach, you've got to fix the real problem. The coverage team. But as a fan, you hate to see anyone on the field make a half azzed effort with poor technique.

Steelerphile
11-18-2009, 05:12 PM
I was perusing some kicking statistics and there is no doubt that Reed's kickoffs are a big problem. The safest and surest way to prevent a runback is put the kickoff in the endzone and get a touchback, or let the returner start from farther back.

Reed has 45 kickoffs and has one touchback. That is extremely low. There is one kicker who has 19 touchbacks, one has 18, two have 17, two have 15, one has 13, another has 11, two with 10, etc.

Reed is the only kicker who has kicked off at least 40 times who has only one touchback. His average kickoff is 60.0 yards. That places him in 37th position.

People back up Reed for his poor efforts at tackling and say a kicker is not supposed to make a tackle. Well, the way I see it is if Reed cannot boom the kickoff, then he has to be a defender because he is needed. The short kickoffs put a lot of stress on the coverage teams.

What does he lift the weights for? Just to look at himself in the mirror? I thought it was to help out on the field. Guess I was wrong.

What does a kicker do in practice? After he kicks a few, does he just goof off for a hour? He needs to get some fundamental coaching in how to make a form tackle and also needs someone to shame him into not being scared to hit.

He is needed to tackle because the short kickoffs are a problem.