Courtesy of Point Park University

Friday Insider: Blame blocks for kick returns ☕


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It's been a season of ups and downs thus far for the Steelers' special teams.

Chris Boswell? Fixed, or at least apparently so. He's made all 19 of his kicks this season and is one of just three kickers who are perfect on 10 or more field goal attempts.

Jordan Berry? The punter is averaging a career-high 47.3 yards per kick, more than three yards greater than his career average.

The coverage? It's largely been good, coming in right around league average according to rankings.

Heck, it's even cut way down on penalties, something that was an issue last season when the unit led the league with 26. The Steelers have four special teams penalties in five games, a big turn of events.

So why is the unit ranked just 19th overall -- up from 27th last season -- thus far according to Football Outsiders? That return game, it's just been awful. And it hasn't been about the return men, according to special teams coordinator Danny Smith, especially in Sunday's 26-23 overtime loss to the Ravens, when the Steelers averaged 14 yards on three kickoff returns.

"We’ve got some things we’ve got to fix," Smith told me Thursday. "We missed some blocks. We just did. I’ve got to put them in better situations. It’s a combination of coaching and playing. We’ve got the players to do that and we’ve got the coaches to do that. There will be an improvement. But the speed of the game affects young guys sometimes. They’ve got to learn that. And I’ve got to put them in situations where they can be successful."

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