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Blocked FGs, hands, & the standard

Posted Nov 23, 2017

Learn more in this week's edition of Coordinator's Corner.

Each week one of the Steelers coordinators will share their insight in an exclusive interview that can be heard on SNR every Thursday in the 3 p.m. hour.

This version of Coordinators Corner will give you a sneak peek of what to expect, but it just touches the surface. Read what they have to say, but take my advice, listen every Thursday for the full interview. It will be worth your time.

Featured this week is special teams coordinator Danny Smith.

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Block it: T.J. Watt came up big against the Titans last week with a blocked field goal attempt. Smith said that the key to blocking a field goal isn’t a choice between attacking the kicker or attacking the protection, but rather a combination of that and more.

“One of the craziest terms in our game is when I hear announcers say chip shot,” said Smith. “Any time there is an operation, it isn’t a chip shot. When a ball is sitting on a golf course and is laying there still and you have a club in your hand, then that is a chip shot. When there is an operation involved, there isn’t a chip shot. It affects the snapper, it affects your studying the protection, hand placement, foot placement, matchups with size, the operation with the holder, kicker, what is the timing of the process. There is a whole lot involved to set up an opportunity to get one of those. Our guys did a great job. The hand placement is critical, to have your hand up at the right time. T.J Watt got it. We had good penetration. He is a helluva player and it was a helluva an individual feat on his part.”

Hands up: Watt obviously has shown he has the ability to block a field goal attempt, but what exactly is it that makes a player good at blocking one.

“First, it’s my job to set them up in situations where they can be successful. You are looking for matchups where they have the chance to be successful. And then they have to have the ability to do it too. When I said about hand placement, we have guys who are pretty good at that. There is a time to get your hand in the air to get it. Some guys are late with that sometimes and have penetration and don’t get balls, some guys start running right off the snap with their hand up which means they aren’t running real fast with their explosion. It’s a knack to do those things. We have a few guys that are pretty good at it.”

The standard: Several times this season the Steelers have been on the opposite end of those blocked field goals, when Chris Boswell had two of his blocked. But thanks to some hustle by Vance McDonald against the Bears, and Jesse James and Jordan Berry against the Colts, it didn’t turn into a disaster.  

“They’re individual efforts and that is the standard with the Pittsburgh Steelers. No play is over until the official blows the ball dead. We play like that. It’s instilled here. That was here before I got here. There is a standard of the Pittsburgh Steelers and how they play the game. Those guys showed great examples of that.”