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State of the Steelers' Roster: Special Teams

Special teams' performance is one of the hardest things to properly evaluate for laymen like us, so for the sake of sounding like a complete idiot I'll focus mostly on the stats. As we know the coverage units (kick and punt) were among the worst in the league and for most of the season gave fans butterflies every time the ball was kicked or punted in the air. The special teams as a whole was saved from being completely putrid mostly by Jeff Reed and a in a smaller role, rookie Daniel Sepulveda. When Reed isn't getting drunk and taking his shirt off in bars, he's normally doing a pretty good job of kicking ass (err, the ball) on the field. Reed had the best season of his career in 2007, converting on 92% of his attempts and for the fourth consecutive year, didn't miss an extra point. Reed even did a somewhat better job on kickoffs setting a career high with 10 touchbacks.

Tequila makes my clothes fall off

Sepulveda, better known as Robo Punter, didn't have the season that we dreamed of after last years draft, you know the one where he led the league in punt average while at the same time laying out a couple of returners like he did at Baylor, but it wasn't all bad. Even though his average was lower than league average at just 42.4, he did finish in the top 10 in punts downed inside the 20 with 28. That's even more impressive considering he had one of the highest percentage of punters downed inside the 20.

Please just do this one time in a Steeler uniform

Coverage units were a different story entirely though. A season that started with Coach Tomlin preaching that solid special teams were just as important as offense and defense, ended with most fans and media calling for the special teams coach to be fired. By mid-season the hot topic was, should defensive starters be placed back on struggling coverage units. In the end, nothing was solved and we can only hope for better play in 2008. It's always a bad sign though when `guys who can contribute right away on special teams' is a draft priority.

Special Teams Tackle Stats:

Carey Davis: 17 tackles and one fumble recovery
    I've hated on the `versatile fullback' all season but I hadn't noticed how important he was to special teams. If he can continue to be this productive, he can stay as long as he wants.

James Harrison: 12 tackles and one forced fumble
    Silverback was simply a monster on special teams as well as with the regular defense. The question I have for you guys, is did Harrison play special teams the whole season or did he start halfway through the season?

Lawrence Timmons: 12 tackles and one fumble recovery
    I'll be the first to admit, I can't remember a single special teams play that Timmons made besides recovering the Silverback's forced fumble on Ed Reed, but he obviously made at least some plays. 12 tackles may not be enough the start a Timmons Fan Club but at least he made some contributions during his rookie season.

Andre Frazier: 12 tackles and one fumble recovery
    Considering Frazier was only with the Steelers for 8 games, his 12 tackles was a pretty nice accomplishment. That combined with his age (25) should keep him around for a while.

William Gay: 11 tackles
    Gay was another rookie who at least made some contribution to the team with special teams play and hopefully he'll continue to improve in 2008. The depth at cornerback should keep Gay on coverage units for at least another year.

Arnold Harrison: 11 tackles and one forced fumble
    The `other Harrison' didn't start the season with the Steelers but he still finished with 11 tackles in 13 games. He's another young guy (25) who could make a name for himself on special teams.

Anthony Madison: 11 tackles and one fumble recovery
    Madison was another guy picked up after the season started. He played in 13 games needs to continue to contribute on special teams to stay in the league.

So what do you guys think will special teams be better next year or are we in for another scary year?