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Thread: Steelers' Sepulveda Says Leg Better Than Ever

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  1. #1
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    Steelers' Sepulveda Says Leg Better Than Ever

    The Pittsburgh Steelers won the Super Bowl last year despite one of the worst punting games in the NFL. But with highly touted Daniel Sepulveda recovered from ACL surgery, things are looking up.

    Way up.

    Sepulveda, who enjoyed a strong rookie season in 2007 before missing all of last year, is booming the ball in practice.

    So much so that the Steelers feel their punting game will again be an important weapon in controlling field position.

    "We're looking forward to the same things we saw from him when he was a rookie," Steelers special teams coach Bob Ligashesky said Friday. "He provides us with field position and helps us in the coverage game as a punt unit. A punter like him allows you to do so much more with your coverage teams and be so much better with his hang time and direction."

    A former two-time Ray Guy Award winner as the nation's best college punter and a player the Steelers traded up to draft in the fourth round two years ago, Sepulveda is a welcome re-addition to the reigning Super Bowl champions.

    The Steelers ranked ninth in the NFL in net punting average during Sepulveda's rookie 2007 season at 37.9 yards per punt, but they lost him for the season on the second day of training camp in 2008.

    Pittsburgh tried to get by with Mitch Berger and Paul Ernster, but fell to 30th in the league in yards per punt (39.8) and 25th in net average (35.6).

    Sepulveda's absence was noticeable as the team went back-and-forth between Berger and Ernster and had a handful of embarrassingly short and shanked kicks.

    "People talk about that, but we still won the Super Bowl," Sepulveda said. "I put the team in a bind and I felt bad for that. We were a week from the first game, and the punter goes down and I was the only one in camp, so I felt bad for that and for giving (kicker Jeff Reed) a new holder. He handled that as a professional, and Mitch and Paul both came in and got the job done.

    "You can say whatever you want, but we ended up winning the Super Bowl. They did what I couldn't do."

    Sepulveda had suffered a torn ACL in college and aggravated the injury not long after. He had considered surgery to correct the problem, and finally could no longer avoid it last summer.

    Watching his team win the Super Bowl without him was difficult, Sepulveda said, but he learned from an additional year of being immersed in the NFL lifestyle.

    Now he's said he's truly at 100 percent physically for the first time in years.

    "I would say I'm a better kicker now, for sure," Sepulveda said. "This is the best I have punted in my life."

    "He's got a strong leg and great accuracy with his kicks," said Anthony Madison, the team's leading special teams tackler last season. "As a coverage guy, you can't be anything but excited to have a guy like that. He's good for the team, period."

  2. #2
    TampaSteelGirl's Avatar
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    Wooo hooo!!! Sep's back!! This season is going to be amazing!!!

    Thanks Steelers086 for my awesome signature!!!

    Thanks for the new avatar SteelerBee!

  3. #3
    Starter cmerrifield's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Yeah I am so happy, I was surprised at the number of "experts" who thought the Steelers should either draft or pick up a punter because Berger was so bad. I am not sure how anyone could forget about D. Sep. The fans certainly didnt.

  4. #4
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    Penn State University
    He was boomin' punts when i was at TC. He looks good.

  5. #5
    THAT DAMN GOOD yinzer's Avatar
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    the Burgh
    RIDICULOUSLY good looking...

  6. #6
    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    having Sepulveda back is one of the most exciting things for me heading into this season...Our defense was the best despite consistent poor field position thanks to the poor punting game last year with Sep out for the year...I can't wait to see the defense this year with field position consistenly in their favor........I think the defense will be better then last year........12 points a game....the only thing that can stop them is the gay rule changes.........I'm anxious to see if the rule changes will have any effect this year......

  7. #7
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    Sir Blitzelot's Avatar
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    That is good to hear. I will be much more comfortable seeing Sepulveda on the field this season, than I was watching Mitch Berger last year.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2009
    special teams play should really pick up this year by midseason between Sep, Wallace and Burnett adding to the mix .. the field will be shorter for the offense which always goes a long way at heinz for FG's

  9. #9
    2nd String 86WARD's Avatar
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    BIG BIG BIG addition to the 2009 Steelers!

  10. #10

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    Well it looks like trading up in the 4th round in 07 for an PUNTER turned out to be an excellent move last year was an nightmare for our kicking gameD-Sep is having an awsome i'm looking forward to watching this unit win an couple of games for us this year, especially with Wallace an Burnett returning Kickoffs an Punt returns

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