Originally written on Steelers Depot  |  Last updated 1/4/14
By Matthew Marczi The Pittsburgh Steelers may have taken a step in the right direction yesterday when they signed Bryce Davis—a long snapper—and Brad Wing—a punter. That step: diagnosing a problem. Selecting these two special teams players as their first signings from outside the organization could suggest that the Steelers see a need to improve these positions in 2014. Whether or not these two particular pieces will complete the puzzle that is the special teams is another matter. It’s been no secret that the Steelers have had their issues successfully punting the ball during the 2013 season. The year began with Pittsburgh releasing their incumbent, second-year punter Drew Butler, which in hindsight may have been a mistake. They replaced him with a pedigreed name in the form of former New England Patriots punter Zoltan Mesko. The fact that he was replaced mid-season says all that need be said about his performance. That replacement, Mat McBriar, finished the season having punted in the last nine games, but his performance was far from exemplary. His average punt distance of 41.3 yards ranked 32nd in the league—two places behind Mesko at 42.5. His net was even worse, as his 35.0 ranked 34th in the league. The only punter with more than seven punts with a worse net average was Sav Rocca of the Washington Redskins at an abysmal 33.8. While he had a combined 14 of his 40 punts either downed or fair caught, he also had three touchbacks and had one punt blocked. Meanwhile, long snapper Greg Warren has been with the Steelers for years, but the question that must be raised is what kind of competition they have ever brought in to compete with him. His veteran salary could save the team a couple bucks next season if they can find a competent replacement. While he may have had an inconsistent snap or two over the course of the year, the snapping part has generally not been his problem. It’s his performance in the other aspects of his job that has been the issue. McBriar’s blocked punt was partially a result of his missing a blocking assignment. Additionally, he rarely if ever has offered much in the way of stopping the returner. In fact, he made just one tackle all season, while missing two. This is by no means the norm for long snappers. The Steelers could seriously benefit from upgrades at these positions. Pro Football Focus ranked McBriar and Warren as the two worst special teams players on the team this year, with Mesko the third worst. The team’s decision to bring in a free agent from each category as their first outside signings of the offseason suggests that they might well agree with that observation, regardless of whether or not the specific players they brought in can unseat the incumbents. Special Teams Signings Could Suggest Steelers Have Diagnosed A Problem is a post from: Steelers Depot
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

49ers OC: Kaepernick didn’t regress as much as believed

John Calipari may coach Kentucky until he is 73

Eric Berry cleared to practice with Chiefs

WATCH: Pedro Martinez's number retired in ceremony

Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia suspended 162 games for PEDs

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brady told staff to hand copy of game ball rules to officials

Phillies agree to send Jonathan Papelbon to Nationals

Report: Russell Wilson to end contract negotiations Friday

Report: Brady authorizes NFLPA to appeal his case in court

NFL, NFLPA reduce Le'Veon Bell suspension

Tim Brown: Cardinals new coach Jen Welter is 'tough as nails'

Luther Campbell jabs FSU coach over decommitment

WATCH: Royals infielders combine for incredible play

Cowboys DE Jeremy Mincey to hold out of training camp

Terry Bollea's self-destruction: Hulkamania as social construct

Lou Holtz: ND has 'legitimate chance' to make playoff

Golfer Billy Hurley III asks for help finding missing father

Dismissed Clemson DE tweets he hates cops after arrest

Smith to report to camp, no charges filed for child abuse

Angels stockpile outfielders, acquire Murphy and DeJesus

Penguins trade Brandon Sutter to the Canucks

Ronda Rousey willing to fight Miesha Tate a third time

Mexico fires coach for alleged brawl after Gold Cup win

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker