Steelers 2013 Training Camp Battles: Drew Butler Versus Brian Moorman

The start of the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers training camp is now less than two weeks away so we will continue to look at the training camp battles that will take place with a look at the battle for the punter job on the 53 man roster. You can comment on this battle below and make sure to vote in the attached poll.

Training Camp Battle Setup: The Steelers punting situation is certainly up in the air as they had into training camp and this year the battle will be between second-year undrafted free agent Drew Butler and long-time veteran Brian Moorman.

Drew Butler – Butler averaged 43.8 yards per punt during his rookie season on a Steelers special teams unit that was far from fantastic as far as coverage went. 26 of Butlers 77 punts were inside the opponents 20-yard-line with 6 of them going for touchbacks. Butler did, however, have a punt blocked last year thanks mostly in part to missed assignments ahead of him.

As far as his hang time went last season, Pro Football Focus has him down for an average of 5.1 seconds which ranks him near the bottom of the league so that is definitely one area where the Georgia product will need to improve this year in training camp and the preseason without losing much of his distance in the process.

As far as his holding ability on kicks goes, Butler seemed to do just fine in 2012. There was a gaff late in the season against the Cincinnati Bengals that led to a crucial missed field goal as Butler was unable to get a good placement down for kicker Shaun Suisham following a poor snap by long snapper Greg Warren. Handling an occasional bad snap is part of the game; however, so Butler shares a tiny bit of blame in that miss.

Brian Moorman – Moorman was signed by the Steelers this offseason to compete against Butler. The veteran has a history with new special teams coach Danny Smith as both were with the Buffalo Bills from 2001-2003.

Moorman, who has been in the league since 2001, averaged 44.8 yards per punt last season on 71 punts with 24 going inside the opponents 20-yard-line. Only 4 of those punts went for touchbacks, and his 5.3 hang time average ranked him in the top third of the league.

Moorman did get off to a slow start with the Bills last season as he only had a net average of 32.7 yards per punt after the first three games. That led to the Bills releasing him, but he was quickly signed by the Dallas Cowboys shortly thereafter.

Prediction: Handicapping punter battles is certainly hard to do, but being as Smith has a history with Moorman, you have to like his chances. Butler now has a full season underneath his belt and knows what the team expects from him moving forward. The Steelers likely want him to win the job, but he must show more consistency in his second season. This is really a coin flip here, but I will predict that Butler holds off the elder Moorman when the smoke clears.

  • steeltown

    I happen to agree. I think Butler will improve upon his rookie season and make the roster..or rather I ‘hope’ he wins the job and makes the roster. I do not want to trade a 6’1 205lb 24yr old with good bloodlines and plenty of upside for a 175lb 37yr old nearing the end of his career. The Steelers always have two punters in camp being that competition is a good thing and injury can happen on any given day, but I’ll be rooting for my man Drewwww

  • Luke Shabro

    I was thinking the same thing. I miss when we used to think Sepulveda was going to be okay lol. Poor guy and his injuries. He had tons of potential

  • gene mann

    it going to bear watching Moorman has kicked in Bad weather and is a season vet

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    Overall, I thought Butler did well last year, but I thought there were a few times he kicked for his average more than to his coverage. (I also think he was trying to hit the scoreboard in Dallas on one occasion instead of trying to make a good punt.)

    Butler is younger and has a slightly lower cap number, so he is the guy to beat, but it could easily go the other way.

  • TJimmy

    Punting isn’t rocket science so I’m pretty sure Butler knew what the team expected from him even a year ago.

    Hopefully he’ll improve, but wow…. just .2 seconds difference in hang time and you move from top third to bottom of the league.

  • Matthew Marczi

    There was an anecdote in one of Jim Wexell’s articles recently that I thought was interesting. Drew Butler was off on his own on another field while practice was going on, kicking balls. Mike Tomlin walked over to him and asked if he was doing anything, or something to that effect, and his response was “getting better, coach”. Tomlin’s response: “good answer”.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Butler still has upside where Moorman is only going to get worse, I still do not think Butler will be a good P but till we can get a guy who is better we can hope Butler becomes a average punter in the league

  • steeltown

    I know, that’s a close margin

  • steeltown

    Butler was an excellent college punter, he had one less than stellar year but other than that he was among the best in the country.. and unlike other positions transitioning as a kicker to the pro game is not as far of a stretch. His athletic ability should carry him far and the mental aspect should come along as he gains more experience. I think he’ll turn into a solid punter for years to come

  • Douglas Coley II

    Drew Butler is a decent punter, he did boom some good ones especially the 70 plus yard punt he kicked. He can’t shoulder all the load though we killed ourselves often with penalties. I think Danny Smith is the answer to who wins this battle whomever takes to his coaching and consistently can handle the elements In my opinion Pittsburgh will bring out the Buffalo years which suits Moorman, Dallas wasn’t really an ideal place for him. I think Drew if he wants to get better and make this team needs to really have his mindset focused the Steelers didn’t just sign a “nobody” this man is a veteran pro bowl punter who has seen it all.

  • Nmc1496

    It definitely should be Moorman –Moorman brings the full picture – he has thrown for two touchdowns, he has run for a first downs, he has the brains that it took to give up a safety versus a touchdown on a botched snap….His last coach in Buffalo (who was subsequently fired), had it in for him and that is why his stats were a lot worse in Buffalo last year. He has “held” perfectly (even on botched snaps) —and is by far the best deal right now. As to Moorman’s physical ability – I would put him up against a 24 year old Butler any day of the week. Moorman was a national champion track star at Pittsburg State and has stayed in shape. He’s in better shape at 37 than most punters are at 22.

  • Nmc1496

    This is ANOTHER thing that Moorman brings to the table: football intelligence in a split second. Butler might be the “future” but the “future” shouldn’t be now…Butler will still be there a few years from now when Moorman retires.

    When Buffalo Bill’s punter Brian Moorman chose to kick the ball out of EZ for safety, were any other options
    In yesterday’s game Buffalo Bills @ Cleveland Browns, When Buffalo Bill’s punter Brian Moorman chose to kick the ball out of EZ for safety, were any other options available at all. What happens when a snap goes over the head of the punter into the end zone. If the other team gets the ball, it’s a touchdown. If nothing happens then it is a safety anyways. So what Moorman did was the only sensible thing he could do. Is that correct? Yes.

  • Nmc1496

    From what remember, to expound upon above story -it was slick weather and the long snapper snapped it over Moorman’s head (and out of his reach and since he was a hurdler, that’s pretty high) – it went into the end zone (They were close to endzone on the punt – so Moorman turned around and kicked it out the back of the endzone so that they would only get two points versus three or seven. it was a close, low scoring game and that was the smart thing to do….but it was shocking at the time..

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Hope u r right.

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Ha, “The Steelers punting situation is definitely up in the air” and one of these guys will definitely get the boot!