With the start of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers only a couple of days away, there will be a lot of battles for starting positions. The marquee matchup this summer in Latrobe, PA will be between four-year veteran Jason Worilds and 2013 first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones for the starting right outside linebacker position.
Another competition includes a clash for the feature running back position between veterans Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer, and rookie Le’Veon Bell. Then there is Cortez Allen and William Gay trying to claim a starting cornerback job, as well as the battle royale between David Johnson, David Paulson and Matt Spaeth to replace Pro Bowl tight end Heath Miller at the start of the season.
There even could be a potential battle for the no. 2 wide receiver spot between Emmanuel Sanders and rookie Markus Wheaton.
However, with all the attention directed towards the glamour positions, everyone is forgetting the important battle on special teams for the punter position between second-year veteran Drew Butler and 13-year veteran Brian Moorman.
Butler joined the Steelers last year as an undrafted free agent and won a spot on Pittsburgh’s roster for the 2012 season. After playing in all 16 regular-season games, Butler finished the year with an average of 43.8 yards per punt and placed 26 of his 77 punts inside the 20-yard line.
Despite the solid year, the Steelers decided to sign Moorman this offseason. Moorman, who spent virtually all of his professional career with the Buffalo Bills, played only three games in western New York last season before being released. Immediately after getting his pink slip, the Dallas Cowboys inked a deal with him, where he played the final 12 games of the season.
Moorman’s numbers from 2012 weren’t a far cry from Butler’s statistics. Moorman averaged 44.8 yards per punt and placed 34 percent of his punts inside the 20-yard line (24 of 71).
Even though this competition will be lost in the shadows of the other position battles, I do believe that the winner won’t be determined until the final cut down day. A couple of months ago, I predicted that the Steelers would go with youth over experience and stay with Butler as their punter.
It’s hard to say what Pittsburgh will do, but I’m sticking with my assumption. Looking at the numbers from last year for both players, it seems that the organization can’t go wrong with either Butler or Moorman. Whatever the decision, Pittsburgh should be in good hands. This battle for punter is very important and shouldn’t be overlooked.
Clyde A. Speller is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google+