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Steelers punt Mesko after inconsistent performance



Published: Wed, October 30, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH

Mike Tomlin is only too aware of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ numbing 2-5 start.

To wallow in it wouldn’t do anybody any good.

“Our record is our record,” Tomlin said. “There’s nothing that we can do about what has been played.”

Maybe, but the Steelers have to do something — anything really — if they want to try and turn things around.

The usual things have not worked. Tomlin tinkered with the lineup after a winless September. He barred shuffleboard, pool and ping pong in the locker room, too.

Victories over Baltimore and the New York Jets followed. They proved to be a temporary salve.

The bottom fell out in a 21-18 loss to Oakland on Sunday with no area of the team above reproach, including a punter who now finds himself out of a job.

The Steelers cut Zoltan Mesko on Tuesday after weeks of inconsistency that manifested itself in a partially blocked punt in the first quarter that helped stake the Raiders to an early 18-point lead.

Mesko bobbled the snap from Greg Warren and wasn’t helped by a missed block that allowed Oakland’s Rick Jennings slip through and get his hands on it. Tomlin refused to place blame in one spot, figuring there was enough to go around.

“Obviously it takes two to tango in that circumstance and the bobble created an out time that wasn’t ideal and obviously the pressure was the pressure,” Tomlin said. “It’s tough to analyze which was more significant. Obviously, together, it was catastrophic.”

Pittsburgh signed Mat McBriar to replace Mesko before Sunday’s game at New England (6-2), though it’s hardly the kind of move likely to shake the roster out of its funk.

The Steelers’ problems extend far beyond the kicking game, including an inability to get things early.

They have been outscored 54-19 in the first quarter this season and 84-54 in the first half.

Tomlin, curiously, doesn’t see the lopsided numbers as any major cause for concern. Though he allowed “it’s important to start the game off with rhythm” he doesn’t want to get too caught up in the notion things are over one way or the other after the first 15 minutes.

“The starts of games don’t determine the outcomes of games,” he said. “We need to keep that in mind as we prepare, too. I don’t want to get lulled into a sense of comfort if we should go up to New England and come out and have a successful start. We’ve got to play football for 60 minutes and winning football.”


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