JV Punter, Even on JV Team, Isn’t Good Enough

Zoltan Mesko lasted eight weeks. On Tuesday, the Steelers replaced him with Mat McBriar, a 10-year vet who hasn’t played since last season, which means that Drew Butler wasn’t next in line for the job he lost just before the season.

Mesko had a punt blocked Sunday, and who knows, maybe we’re blaming him for Po-Sweezy’s two missed field goals too. We’ll have to see if this magically saves the season.

In related news: Tomlin has demoted Jarvis Jones to backup behind Jason Worilds. Hopefully, this has the same effect as Rashard Mendenhall getting benched back in 2009.

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  • David

    Well, we have a new punter now. Yippee.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    We signed Jack McBrayer to be our punter?

  • Cols714

    This season sucks.

  • Terribletoweler

    Hey don’t over-discount the punter. I seem to remember a few games where the Browns punter and placekicker combo won them some games. Of course, the defense had to get some stops to play the field position game well enough. Consistency in the punting will help. No, it won’t fix our other problems. But in a game of field position, a bad punt can cost you a game. It won’t win TONS of games if you’re getting good punts, but a bad punt can cost you, and that’s what Mesko was doing. I’m not jumping for joy either, don’t get me wrong. The season still sucks.

    • Eric

      I agree with everything you said. The problem is that it is unlikely that McBriar is any better than Mesko was. If McBriar was better, he probably wouldn’t be available in week 9.

      • EasyLikeSundayMorning

        Yeah, McBriar, Mesko, Butler and Moorman all seem like replacement-level options. If any of them were the equivalent of Velasco, then I could get more excited by the move. I guess Butler, who is young and inconsistent, is sort of like Dwyer as a street free agent signing. But I guess they’ve had enough of Butler.

        • Eric

          I never ask a question of the day, so here is one… who was the Steelers last good punter? Josh Miller?

          • Cols714

            Oh man. Cowher used to give that guy the business all the time.

            But yeah probably.

          • Terribletoweler

            This was really interesting. I went to pro football reference and looked at our kickers, then sorted it from high to low yards per punt. Here’s the page: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/career-kicking.htm

            Here is all active punters: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/leaders/punt_yds_per_punt_active.htm

            Mesko and Butler are almost identical on that list. Here’s Matt McBriar: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/players/M/McBrMa20.htm

            So there’s a good chance he will be a significant upgrade if that leg is healed. In his all pro years he was near the top of the league. If he can consistently hit his career average, we’ll be in good shape. (That puts him in the top 10 active punters, just barely).

          • EasyLikeSundayMorning

            That site uses Approximate Value (AV) to estimate player contributions across positions. Miller is the second-ranked punter in Steelers history (behind Bobby Walden and ahead of Craig Colquitt). Miller’s career AV of 19 is the same as Ty Carter’s. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/teams/pit/career-av.htm

          • EasyLikeSundayMorning

            In Miller’s 8 years for the Steelers, his AV was 19. In McBriar’s 8 years, his AV was 21. So if McBriar is healthy and kicks like he used to, he’ll be the equivalent of the second best punter in Steelers history. That’s a big if, of course.

          • Terribletoweler

            Well, I was just going off of average yards per punt by looking at the player stats. But the AV ranking is an interesting take, too. It could be a good pick up. Really he just has to perform close to what he was able to and we’ll be alright, especially for a stop-gap.

            Happy Halloween!

      • Terribletoweler

        Yea, I didn’t address the idea that all the available options are likely to be subpar. No one we pick up off the street will crack the top 20 punters, or probably even top 25.

  • Shea

    Hilarious headline and sadly this is very true! Too bad for this season, being a Steelers fan my whole life I didn’t imagine seeing such horrific play through all phases of the game.

  • Cols714

    For the first time I’m starting to question just what exactly the Steelers are doing at practice. What are they practicing? It’s certainly not offense.

  • EasyLikeSundayMorning

    A recap of the last time we played the Pats: http://espn.go.com/nfl/recap?gameId=311030023

  • David

    Talk about sore losers. After the Bungles lost last night, a Bungle player pushed a camera away from showing Dalton as he walked toward the field, and when Tannehill tried to talk with him, he gave him the John Harbaugh treatment.

    Anyhow, you will find no hope from me, even after this loss, in catching the Bungles.

    • Rob D

      Yeah, I saw that too…not used to being top dog and then losing because everyone brings their A game to your schedule..tough tuba…lol