Coach Mike Tomlin wanted to improve his team when the Steelers acquired return man Allen Rossum from the Atlanta Falcons last week for an undisclosed, conditional draft pick that's likely a seventh-rounder.
Which was the same terms of a deal that Cowbert made a couple of years back with the Eagles for the immortal Freddie Milons. IIRC, that was strictly insurance and when none of the Steeler PR's went down with an injury, the Steelers never activated Milons and saved their R7 pick. This is the same deal for a much better player.
Rossum, now with his fourth NFL team, made the Pro Bowl three seasons ago after he averaged 12.4 yards a punt return, and a year after he averaged 14.0 yards. Since then, Rossum averaged 8.5 yards in 2005 and 8.0 yards in 2006.
Rossum was a good punt returner and he still may have it in him at one month shy of his 32nd birthday. But Tomlin had a better punt returner on his own team, Santonio Holmes. Holmes averaged 10.2 yards on punt returns last season and scored a touchdown, one more than Rossum scored in his past two seasons
I think Easy Ed has the best Steeler inside connections of any of the local writers and is worth a read on that basis (and only that basis). However, Bouchette is stone cold awful with anything to do with numbers. Punt return average is based only on punts that are actually returned, which can make a difference.
Let's look at Rossum and Holmes in 2006, not Rossum's best year, this from nfl.com:
PR Chances: Rossum 50, Holmes 47
No. Fair Catches: Rossum 13, Holmes 21
No. Punts Retnd: Rossum 37, Holmes 26
Return Yardage: Rossum 288, Holmes 264
Avg., Ret. Punts: Rossum 7.8, Holmes 10.2
Avg., All Punt Chances: Rossum 5.8, Holmes 5.6
No. of Touchdowns: Rossum 0, Holmes 1
No. of Fumbles: Rossum 0, Holmes 4
Obviously Holmes was the more conservative return man with all those fair catches, yet he's also the guy with 4 fumbles. Overall, old man Rossum has the better overall return average and far few mistakes. Reid or Holmes may eventually be the #1 PR/KR, but Rossum is much better than either at present.
It's not the seventh-round draft choice the Steelers will give up for Rossum that's a problem -- they routinely cut their seventh-round pick after his first training camp anyway -- it's the roster spot they gave up. Because they acquired Rossum, they released second-year center Marvin Philip, leaving them with no backup center with NFL experience at the position.
And how many actual NFL games has Philip played at center?
And because they signed Philip to the practice squad, they did not sign 6-9 Jason Capizzi, who showed promise as a rookie left tackle in training camp.
C'mon, Ed, the last guy on the 53 is far more important than any on the practice squad, and Marvin is replacable. If there are a raft of O-line injuries, the Steelers can re-sign Capizzi at any time, even if he's on another team's practice squad. So what's the big deal here?
Yunz are already giving Ed a pretty good working over on Sepulveda, so I won't kick the carcass further.