Brad Wing Shows Power, But Finesse To Be Tested

The Pittsburgh Steelers are nearly ready to head out to East Rutherford, New Jersey for their first preseason game against the New York Giants, and their final free agent signee, punter Adam Podlesh, remains away with his “very pregnant” wife.

If he stays away much longer, it may not do much good for him to show up at all.

That’s because the one punter the Steelers do have in camp, Brad Wing, has been booming his way through practices so far, even if the two punters are still currently listed as co-starters on the team’s first official depth chart.

While there’s still a long way to go when it comes to determining who enters the regular season as the Steelers’ punter, it’s clear that the 2012 undrafted free agent is off to a strong start, and he could begin to pull away if he remains uncontested.

Just two seasons ago, incumbent punter Jeremy Kapinos found himself sitting out training camp with an injury, and his inability to get back on the field in a timely manner cost him his job, supplanted by a rookie undrafted free agent in Drew Butler.

After muddling through a season with bottom-of-the-league-quality performances from Zoltan Mesko and Mat McBriar, the Steelers are certainly going to be on the lookout for a fresh, energetic leg, which Wing appears to be displaying.

The former college star punter has been showing off not just a big leg with distance, but also consistently displaying NFL-quality hang time, which Steelers special teams coach Danny Smith believes is 4.2 seconds.

Wing has been hitting that mark, and at times considerably beyond. On Monday, Jim Wexell Tweeted that one of his punts reached a hang time of 5.7 seconds, and he has been regularly approaching 4.5-5 seconds.

Of course, it’s one thing to have a big, booming leg, and the hang time to make sure that you don’t outkick your coverage, but it’s another matter to be able to control your punts, and that’s what we’ve heard little of so far.

Part of being a punter is to be able to flip the field when your offense is unable to drive down the field in order to spare your defense. Sometimes that requires a big leg, but other times, it demands touch and finesse.

How will the newcomer fare when he’s asked to do some directional kicking? Can he regularly keep the ball out of the end zone? Can he be a reliable holder for Shaun Suisham?

Since joining the Steelers, he’s shown himself to be a maturing young adult, which was the biggest mark against him coming out of college. In order to take the next step and make an NFL roster, he needs to show that his punting game is mature as well, with a little finesse to go along with that raw power.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • http://www.reverbnation.com/JohnnyLoose Johnny Loose

    Hope he’s up to the task. To have even serviceable punting will be a welcome sight.

  • Lizard72

    I’d take a few misses for the ones that flip the field occasionally.

  • steeltown

    Indeed, directional kicking and holding will be HUGE for this guy. We knew coming in he had a big leg. I’m pulling for him.

  • Silent1

    You’re pulling his leg

  • 20Stoney

    How times have changed. When I was born I was taking awhile, so my dad took my brother hunting.

  • CW

    My dad went hunting the morning of the day I was born, only didn’t go back out after lunch time because my mother went into labor right before he left.

  • tcirish53@gmail.com

    Finesse is one thing, but we haven’t had a quality punter for years and I have to believe (although there is no statistic that I know of that measures this, YET) that substandard punting has been a minor contributor to the drop in the performance of the D.
    Long gone are the days when we could count on our punter to dig the Offense out of the hole created by a so-so series of downs in our own end of the field.
    Would be great to have that back – if this guy can boom it and dig the O out of the hole, I say we take a flyer (pardon the pun!) on Wing and the directional/finesse stuff can come with more reps/coaching.

  • Weiss Chad

    Imo by all reprts either wing has to either really screw up or podlesh has to really kill it.I hope wing cleaned himself up off the field.I wanted this kid in the seventh rd last year.He can have a very good career.

  • Douglas Andrews

    With that amount of hangtime I’d be happy to suffer through some balls that mightreach the end zone for a touchback. Especially if it means he nails some 55-60 yarders when our offensive drives stalls in our own territory.

  • Luis Garcia

    Ray Guy inspires us all… No seriously, yeah cool we need a good Punter and also hope Podlesh wife and family are very well. That dad will also need a job, so find help and show up brother!

  • Interested Observer

    Wing has better directional punting than most punters and will do great things in the NFL if given half a chance.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Good info, thanks for posting.