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Steelers Special Team Positional Report Post Eagles Game


By Alex Kozora

Because it never gets the love it deserves, today I’m breaking down the Pittsburgh Steelers special teams groups – unit by unit – from the Thursday night loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Kick Coverage

First Team

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Second Team

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Kick Return

First Team

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Second Team

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Although there have been injuries to Shaq Richardson and Devin Smith the last two weeks, Isaiah Green has been on first team kick coverage since prior to the first preseason. There’s no way Green makes the team but it’s something to keep in mind when trying to scratch out the practice squad.

It would be a mild surprise to see Ryan Shazier on the Week One kick coverage unit. He’ll likely be replaced. But Will Johnson’s return should avoid much of a shakeup with Arthur Moats or Vince Williams likely becoming L5.

Brice McCain has been on first team kick coverage from the onset. Just another piece of evidence to show he’s going to make this team. And probably be active.

The first team wedge was made up of two backups; Cody Wallace and Will Johnson are the usual duo. Although Tauren Poole’s hamstring injury made the decision easy, you have to think LeGarrette Blount is going to be the team’s first team upbacks on kicks.

Not gaining much clarity on Michael Palmer vs David Paulson here. Both on this unit.

Punt Coverage

First Team

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Second Team

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Punt Return

First Team

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Second Team

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Palmer running ahead of Paulson on punt coverage. Gunners are no surprise. Antwon Blake and Shamarko Thomas’ jobs are secure. Most interesting note is Vic So’oto running down punts with the 1’s. Ahead of Chris Carter though 54 is on first team punt return. Coaches could be pitting them against each other here, giving them separate units to start on.

With Poole out, Robert Golden was the upback with the first and second units. Will Allen is a Steeler that has gotten brief work there in camp but he was obviously out. In a pinch, William Gay can be used as an upback.

The only player I missed on any of the units is the right guard on second team punt coverage. On both opportunities, I was unable to find him. Why the position is designated with a question mark.

Field Goal Block

First Team

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Second Team

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Field Goal Protection

First Team

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Second Team

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Nothing very interesting on the field goal blocking unit. First team defense are just the starters.

Protection unit is fairly similar though Stephon Tuitt gets reps here with the first team protection unit on the edge. And Palmer is running over Paulson again here. Paulson with the second team.

Final Thoughts

Just to wrap things up, a quick tally of a few key players and how many units they received first team reps on.

Chris Carter: 2
Vic So’oto: 1

Brice McCain: 2
Darrius Heyward-Bey: 1

Michael Palmer: 3
David Paulson: 1

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  • steeltown

    So not only did Paulson not see much action on Offense, but he is receiving less reps on special teams than Palmer is.. hmm something tells me Paulson is not making the roster this yr and he shouldn’t. This Team needs some serious corrections made and I’d start with the below average players that continue to find their way on roster, like Paulson and Carter… they are weak links

  • Matt Manzo

    At least we know what we’re drafting next year! But, yes, I want them off the team too. Paulsons shown some this off season, but I don’t think enough, in the blocking dept.

  • Alex Kozora

    Yup, still can’t figure out who the #3 TE is going to be. Have yet to receive an ounce of clarity through this whole preseason. I’m not convinced the team knows either. I think they were hoping Blanchflower would give them a reason to keep him after playing him so much Thursday.

  • steeltown

    Yea he’s basically a big slow WR

  • steeltown

    Any thoughts on Blanchflowers performance?

  • Alex Kozora

    Run blocking still needs work. And still seems lost at times.

  • cencalsteeler

    Alex. I think your right. No one has stood out and there is no since keeping anyone other than Miller, Spaeth and Palmer at this point. I think it’s time to fold on this hand, and start looking into who teams will be releasing here soon.

  • Steelers12328882

    Is that evaluation after reviewing his tape from the Eagles game? I thought his blocking looked great. I think that’s understating it too. He was OUTSTANDING! He wasn’t asked to block every play he was in there, and he didn’t get a pass thrown his way, but I think you should take another look at his blocking that night. I was seriously impressed, but that’s probably cause I’m used to Paulson.

  • Alex Kozora

    Maybe I missed it. I know there was one screen where he failed to pick up any of two defenders. Looked lost.

  • cp72

    How is it possible that McCullers isn’t on the first or second team field goal block?

  • Steelers12328882

    Yup, that was the one play he failed to make a block, but the rest of his tape looks good. Even appeared to be open on a few passing plays.

  • Alex Kozora

    I have seen him out there once or twice during the preseason, for what it’s worth.

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