The same week that Jeff Reed pointed the finger at his teammates to divert blame from himself, Daniel Sepulveda made a pretty strong case that Reed shouldn’t be kicking off.
Given a chance to kick off for the first time, the Steelers punter didn’t consistently kick the ball deeper than Reed, but he did show that distance isn’t everything when it comes to a kickoff.
Sepulveda averaged 64.6 yards for his five kickoffs. That’s kicking the ball to roughly the five yard line. F0r his eight kicks this preseason, Reed has averaged 64 yards. So we’re talking about no significant difference in distance.
But when you look at the hang time, you see an entirely different story. Reed’s average kick hangs up for 3.9 seconds. Sepulveda’s worst kick hung up for 3.9 seconds, and three of his other four all floated for 4.1 seconds or more. Overall he averaged 4.1 seconds per kick. It’s not a dramatic difference, but the extra hang time is always appreciated by a coverage team.
Reed did seem to respond to the pressure. Given a chance to kickoff in the second half of the Giants game, Reed uncorked his best kickoff of the preseason–a 63-yarder that hung up for 4.8 seconds. But that’s the only kickoff he’s had this preseason that’s hung up for more than 4.0 seconds.
There are some legitimate concerns whether kicking off will affect Sepulveda’s punting, but when it comes to kicking off, Sepulveda does appear to be better at the job than Reed.