Ed Bouchette checks in today from Steelers training camp:
Can I kick it?
Coach Mike Tomlin said the other day that he will evaluate his two punters solely on their ability to punt and not how they kick off.
Both Paul Ernster and newly-signed Mike Berger have kicked off in the NFL, and it’s not been a strength of Steelers kicker Jeff Reed.
But if the difference between a top punter in this league and one ranked near the bottom is about 2 yards a punt, why wouldn’t their ability to kick off not play a part in it as well?
The Steelers averaged about 4 punts a game last year. They kick off every time they score. Why wouldn’t a deep kickoff be worth as much as a deep punt? It’s a bottom line business, and however you get the yards, you get them.
I’m not saying that the best kickoff man should win the job, but if it’s close and one kicks off a lot better than the other, why wouldn’t that count?
Coming out smellng like roses ...
How is it that when the Steelers need a quarterback, they find him?
It started with Tommy Maddox, who gave them a few good years. Then it was Charlie Batch. At the time, the Steelers thought Batch wanted to be a No. 1 somewhere and was holding out for that, but Batch had no offers to do that and remained a free agent until he and the Steelers finally got on the telephone.
Now Batch is hurt and they have not one but two former starting quarterbacks, each high draft picks and each healthy, vying to become the backup to Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers could not go wrong with either Byron Leftwich or Daunte Culpepper.
It must have been something to see two former high first-round draft picks and NFL starters throwing at the Latrobe High School Field Sunday morning.
My question is this: What in the world are the Vikings, Bears and Ravens doing? Each needs a starting quarterback and none has anything close to a Leftwich or Culpepper in camp. Leftwich proved he wasn’t holding out to compete for No. 1 and did not demand a big contract.
The Steelers got lucky again at the most important position on the field.