*Veteran Punter Chris Gardocki is in a dogfight to retain the punting duties. This could just be another case of rumor for rumor's sake, but because Gardocki was extremely average last year, a legitimate competition for the position is plenty fair. The 16 year veteran ranked 29th in the NFL with a net punting average of 34.7 yards. He ranked 23rd with a gross punting average of 41.8 yards. He was better at pinning opponents deep. He finished 11th in the league with 33% of his kicks downed inside the 20. In his defense, Gardocki was great in the Super Bowl. His performance definitely helped us in the field position battle. In the biggest game of the season, his gross average was 48.7% with a long of 60 yards.Gardocki's trying to stave off Mike Barr. Barr doesn't look like your prototypical punter: he's 6'2", 230 lbs, and is an avid weightlifter. This is his third camp with the Steelers, having been cut in the previous two. Barr is ten years younger than Gardocki, but I don't really think that matters too much. Isn't Sean Landetta still effective at like 55 years of age? If Gardocki's nervous, he's not showing it. To him, this is nothing new.
"It's been like that for 16 years," said Gardocki. "That's part of it."*Rookie Anthony Smith may help us forget about Chris Hope quicker than we expected. Coach Cowher's certainly been impressed with the rookie out of Syracuse.
"Anthony Smith has looked very well,? Cowher said of the free safety the Steelers drafted in the third round. ?Right now that?s as competitive position as we have on the team, that and receiver. But he has done very, very well and I think he?s getting more comfortable every day."Wow, it's not often that Cowher uses two very's when describing the performance of a player, especially a rookie.*The Bengals are a complete mess. I won't talk about their latest arrest, I'm sure you guys have heard about that by now. But did you hear about this ? I guess it's not just the players who can be counted on to be delinquent. Are the fans really that unruly and beligerent that they need to implement this prior to the season even starting? I love the Cincinnatti Reds, but man I'm glad I'm not a Bengals fan.