Friday, January 25, 2008

Season in Review: Fourth Down

We've looked at down one through three, and instead of checking out how the Steelers did on offensive plays run on fourth downs during the 2000 to 2008 seasons (they have had 121 such plays in eight seasons) we've opted to take a look at punting performance over the course of those seasons.

In the interest of full disclosure we looked at some of this information in our posting regarding special teams coach Bob Ligashesky, but we've added a bit of information here and filled things out just a bit. So, here's a look at the numbers:

SeasonPunter(s)Avg. Gross Yds. per KickAvg. Net Yds. per KickInside the 20
2000J. Miller43.837.534
2001J. Miller &
K. Brown
2002J. Miller &
T. Rouen
2003J. Miller41.93627
2004C. Gardocki4337.424
2005C. Gardocki &
B. Roethlisberger
2006C. Gardocki41.336.711
2007D. Sepulveda42.437.928

In 2006 we were very vocal in our criticism of Chris Gardocki, and while we stand by that criticism the numbers -- in a historical context -- do not support us.

We can live that.

What we cannot understand, based upon the numbers, is why Bill Cowher was always so angry at Josh Miller! After an amazing first season Mr. Miller fell off somewhat, and suffered injuries as well (Kris brown punting? We vaguely remember that), and that bounced back in his final season in Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, Chris Gardocki had a solid first season, and lousy second season, and then a bit of a comeback in season three. Of course the problem with Mr. Gardocki's kicks was that they were always low, line-drives thereby making the job of the coverage until that much more difficult.

Now we have Daniel Sepulveda. Like his two predecessors he had a very good first season -- his gross average was the third highest in the last eight seasons, his net average was the best of any Steelers punter during that period, and his kicks inside the twenty yard line was second best -- but of course the question is will he (like those predecessors) see a decline in his performance next season?

Just one of many questions to be answered beginning next September.

Labels: ,