What did you think about the play of the Pittsburgh Steelers special teams units during the 2018 season? Did you consider it to be better or worse than the 2017 season?
Honestly, outside of a few punt blocks and a forced fumble on a kickoff coverage late in a game the Steelers were already in fill control of, the unit that’s led by Danny Smith really didn’t give us much to write home about during the 2018 season and thus it’s not surprising to see where they landed in the annual rankings that Rick Gosselin, formerly of The Dallas Morning News, released just recently.
According to Gosselin’s special teams rankings for the 2018 season, the Steelers finished 25th overall with a score of 426. The scoring system that Gosselin uses isn’t very elaborate as it is calculated by using the rankings of all 32 teams in 22 different special teams categories and then assigning points according to the standing in each. In short, the lower the combined final score the better and thus I assume a perfect score would be 22. The lowest score this year was 231 by the New York Jets.
A year ago the Steelers ranked 17th overall for the 2017 season with a composite score of 370.5. In case you’re curious, the Steelers ranked 20th overall for the 2016 season with a composite score of 394.5 and 6th overall in 2015 in Gosselin’s rankings with a composite score of 316.5. They ranked 21st overall in 2014 with a composite score of 410. As you can see, the Steelers 2018 score of 426 was the worst it’s been in years.
As Gosselin points out, while the Steelers had the fifth-best kickoff coverage unit in 2018, their punt coverage unit finished last in the NFL, allowing 14.4 yards per return on average. Gosselin also points out how the Steelers ranked last in the NFL in 2018 in special teams penalties with 27 of them for 257 yards. Additionally, while the Minnesota Vikings finished last in the league in field goal make percentage in 2018, the Steelers finished next-to-last with a 69.6 rate. That percentage was 92.1 in 2017 for the Steelers.
Despite the Steelers special teams units seemingly going backwards in 2018, Smith’s job appears to be safe for 2019. He has held that job since 2013.