Tuesday during his press conference, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to talk about the performance of punter Zoltan Mesko through the first six games of the season and he made it clear that he needed to improve.
“It’s been a mixed bag until this point,” said Tomlin. “It’s been inconsistent. Just about every game over the last three games he has had what I call a junior varsity punt. Thankfully we only punted once in the game [against the Ravens], negatively he didn’t get an opportunity to redeem himself from the punt. We need more consistency there.”
In the loss Sunday to the Oakland Raiders, Mesko was anything but consistent. While his first punt did travel 45 yards, it resulted in a net of just 27 following a 20 yard return by Raiders wide receiver Jacoby Ford and subsequent fumble out of bounds.
Mesko’s next punt, following the Steelers second straight three and out by the offense, was blocked and while tight end David Paulson didn’t help matters by letting Raiders running back Rashad Jennings get past him on the right edge, Mesko didn’t cleanly field the snap from long snapper Greg Warren.
Mesko’s next punt from the Raiders 49 yard-line ended up in the end zone for a touchback and a net of 29 yards.
Following a 51 yard punt by Mesko midway through the second quarter, his next one would have even embarrassed a high school junior varsity punter as it flew all of 30 yards.
Based on his performance so far, you have to think the left-footed Mesko has punted his last ball for the Steelers, who will likely bring in several free agents for tryouts either Monday or Tuesday. This Zoltan certainly hasn’t brought any power to the city of Pittsburgh and a change, albeit a week too late, is needed.