Steelers Special Teams Coach Given The Boot

coachligs

The Pittsburgh Steelers fired their second coach in as many days, this time relieving special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky of his job.  I have mixed emotions on his departure.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the least bit surprised.   When you surrender the most return TDs of any team in forty years while ranking 30th and 24th in kick and punt coverage, something is definitely rotten in McKeesport.  And since you can’t fire the eleven men running down the field (although Mike Tomlin certainly tried), it’s easier to can the coach.

However, in some ways I feel Ligashesky is being made a scapegoat.   He can only use the players he’s given.  When you hand a cook a bushel of rotten tomatoes, it’s hard to blame him when his sauce tastes like crap.   Last season, the Steelers were one of the best special teams coverage units in the NFL.   This season, he’s been saddled with a bunch of clueless youngsters (Joe Burnett, Ryan Mundy) and lazy veterans (Keiwan Ratliff, Tyrone Carter).   They even had little 5’6 175 pound Stefan Logan out covering kicks.  They’d be better off running Daniel Sepulveda out there.

The biggest problem with the coverage is the lack of a gunner.   Every good special teams unit has a gunner or player whose specialty is flying down the field like a human missile and disrupting whatever the other team is trying to set up.  Whenever the Steelers have found a special teams ace, be it Chidi Iwouma, Anthony Madison, or the great Sean Morey, coach Tomlin and Kevin Colbert have let them go.  If anybody deserves blame for this year’s fiasco, it’s the two of them.

Also in special teams news, I found this list of players the Steelers signed to their offseason roster.  The interesting name is Piotr Czech, the kicker whom the Steelers brought to camp this past preseason.   After being cut, Czech hooked on with the UFL and now seems to be back in the fold.   Could this be a sign that Skippy Reed‘s days in the Black and Gold are rapidly coming to an end?

Topics: Baltimore Ravens, Ben Roethlisberger, Big Ben, Black And Gold, Black And Gold Blog, Bob Ligashesky, Charlie Batch, Dennis Dixon, Jeff Reed, Jeff Reed's Peeps, Kevin Colbert, Ligashesky, Mike Tomlin, Piotr Czech, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Steelers Blog, Roethlisberger, Roethlisberger Concussion, Sean Morey, Skippy Jeff Reed, Skippy Reed, Steeler Nation, Steelers, Steelers 2010 Offseason, Steelers Blog, Steelers Fire Coaches, Steelers Nation, Steelers Offseason, Stefan Logan, Stillers, Super Bowl Champions

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  • JLaw

    No skip!!! You mean we’ll have to miss out on his pathetically humorous attempts at tackling? Oh no whatever shall I do?!? Sorry I’m not a fan of the skipster. He too Madonna like for me.
    I know he’s paid to kick not tackle but damn I think my 12 year old brother can kick further and surely would make more of an attempt to tackle the return man.
    Over all though I think youre right Bob is the fall guy entirely and nobody else will catch hell for it.

  • “O”

    The Bungles just got the boot. Carson Palmer looked like garbage. I guess they won to many games that were meaningless. That is also a twenty year drought for a playoff win two years ahead of the Lions. They are who we thought they were. I think they just got us and the Ratbirds when we were playing our worst football. Made them look and think that they were better. Guess not.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Skippy’s tackles are terrible but I still don’t see why that’s an issue. Running him out of town because he whiffs on tackles is like cutting Casey Hampton because he never makes interceptions. After watching some of those kickers this weekend, I sure hope the people who want him gone remember that when Czech shanks two 35 yarders in the playoffs.

    And yes, Palmer totally sucked on Sunday. Maybe Bungle fans will finally shut up about Kimo costing them a Super Bowl (*rolls eyes*) I guess we all saw what frauds that team really was. Actually, I’d like the Steelers chances against any of the teams I saw on Sunday.

  • “O”

    Chris once again you have hit the nail on the head. I myself can put up with Skippy’s missed tackles as long as he makes the feild goals. But on to the point that I agree with the most. If Baltimore dominated New England like they did and they can’t beat us. Eagles peaked to early. We were playing great football the last three games. Which brings me to the conspiracy theory. These teams all got together and said which team would everyone not like to see in the playoffs. The room erupts and all together they say Pittsburgh. Those Steelers are to tough in the playoffs and I don’t see us being able to beat them. What must we do to keep them out of the playoffs, and it was done.
    The team I have the most disgust for is the Jets behind the Colts of course. They have backed their way into the playoffs and don’t truly deserve their spot. Then they won, what a buzz kill.
    I do agree though the Steelers could have beaten any team this past weekend no problem. But that of course is all conjecture and the real truth is we are out and they are in. Next year I hope Tomlin makes everbody work in camp and actually gets the team ready for 60 minutes of football instead of 45. No more days off for the vets. Everybody should have to work like they are trying to make the team. Not like their spot is sewed up. That with a good draft we should be allright.
    Go Steelers!

  • JLaw

    “O”, “Chris” I don’t care for half a$$ when it comes to making a play and yes I Like that he is pretty solid at field goals BUT his weak kicks suck with the coverage problems that occurred all season. Did he put any in the endzone this year? I’m not trying to wage war her just callin an wuss a wuss.
    On a more positive note, yes the Bungle bouncing was great. Now I’m torn about the ratbird/colt game cause, well you all know. Chargers and Cardinal SB is all I can hope for.

  • JLaw

    Whoops. Here and calling. Hope the police aren’t reading this.

  • “O”

    JLaw your absolutly right about the kickoffs. I would like to have a kicker who could kick the ball into the endzone and get some touchbacks. That means we just need another kicker to handle the kickoffs. I think the spelling police are off duty right now.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    Skippy has a perfectly strong leg. Take a look at his average on FGs over 50 yards. It’s pretty good. There a lot of kickers out there who make 40-45 yarders an adventure. Reed is almost automatic on those. And considering he plays half his games at Heinz (which is one of the harder places to kick), his FG % is doubly impressive.

    Yes, his kickoffs have been short this year. He can kick it to around the goal line but they told him to pooch/short kick it this year because their coverage sucks. Skippy could help by kicking it further…or maybe the other 10 special teamers could help by learning how to stay in a lane, shed a block, and make a tackle. I guess it’s all in how you want to assign blame.

    Now if you want him to boom it ten yards deep in the end zone every time, O is exactly right. You need to eat up a roster spot on a kickoff specialist.
    Although I have news, Czech isn’t going to boom it into the end zone either. And if the Steelers find one who does, he might shank a bunch of 35 yard FG attempts (ask Baltimore about that, they fell in love with a strong legged rookie who cost them two games with missed chip shots).

    If you don’t like Skippy because of personality or character issues, that’s fine. I happen to think he’s a kind of a dick, too. But it’s not fair to downgrade his abilities because he acts like a moron off the field.

    Anyway, we’d all like a perfect player at every position. Unfortunately, those don’t grow on trees. Personally, I can live with half-assed tackling attempts or kickoffs landing on the 3 if it means the kicker makes 95% of his attempts. Your mileage may vary.

  • http://nicepickcowher.com chris

    My rooting interest will be with the Ratbirds this week. Indy deserves to be one and done after disgracing the game of football like they did. As much as I hate B-more, Indy disgusts me. Then I’ll happily root for Jets or Chargers to crush all their hopes and dreams in a second straight AFC Championship game.

    As for overall rooting interest, I have to say I’m pulling for the Cardinals. For one, half their team are ex Steelers or Pitt Panthers. For two, they handled last year’s loss with dignity (unlike the crybaby Seahag fans). And for three, I want to see the avalanche of comments from people saying we should’ve hired Wiz over Tomlin.

  • “O”

    Great points Chris.I myself can not see eating up a roster spot for a kicker either. Like you said fill your lanes shed a block and make a tackle. Just about every other team in the league can do it so we should be able to do it as well. As for rooting for the Ratbirds, I to will be. I will keep a bucket next to the lazy boy to puke in every time I say come on Ray hit Peyton in the mouth. But the Colts need to lose, for karma sake. As for the Arizona Cardinals I also agree with you the took their lumps like men and came back this year kicking ass. They are my super bowl pick. If they win the super bowl I bet Kurt decides to retire.As far as hiring Wiz over Tomlin we don’t run the front office. I would have liked to see him coaching in some facit for our team but that ship has sailed. He is a great offensive coordinater, but I’m not sure I would want him as a head coach.I still want the Jets to lose, they backed their way in, allthough it was not their fault.

  • JLaw

    I agree with the coverage issues. I wasn’t aware he was told to short kick all year long. Makes sense and sad he was told to do that. That still no excuse to tackle like a 6 year old girl and be an ass off the field. Still not a big fan but not a hater. Thanks for the info.
    “O” I guess I’ll root for the ratbirds the same way you will, bucket in hand! That was funny!
    I’ve never been a Srams fan but I’ll give their few great players recognition when needed. You guys should hear all the crap about Kurt these days compared to when he was hurt and playing here still. I had to hear it all Super Bowl but I got the last laugh. Now I’ve got no rebuttal so I hope he wins and retires, he the last of the Mohicans. He good all around guy, met him once working secondary at the dome, but I’m kinda tired of hearing about him since that’s all they can cling too. When I mention the former Steelers there now it’s the usual Steeler hatred comments that I get greeted with. I can’t wait for next year!!
    Go Steelers!