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Cowher calls out Reed

Jerry DiPaola
| Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2004

The field was sloppy and the footing tricky at Pro Player Stadium in Miami, but Steelers coach Bill Cowher said that's no excuse for kicker Jeff Reed missing two field-goal attempts against the Dolphins.

"I know they were tough conditions the other night," Cowher said, "but, hey, they are what they were. It's going to be windy one week. It's going to be wet the next week. We don't play in a dome. I'm sure that is where all the kickers would love to go, but we don't have that. We deal with what we have."

Reed has attempted six field goals this season -- none shorter than 40 yards -- and hit three of them. He was successful from 40 and tied a career high with a 51-yard field goal against the Dolphins, but he also missed from 44 and 45.

This is Reed's first season after offseason hip surgery which followed nine misses in 32 tries in 2003.

"I think he is a very quality kicker," Cowher said, "but he has been somewhat inconsistent. He will be the first one to tell you that. And, yet, we have to continue to have trust in him.

"You know what he is capable of doing. We would just like to see him do it on a more regular basis, because we are going to need him to become that automatic three when you get inside the 30-yard line. That's what he has the ability of being."

Cowher appears to be using the same philosophy with Reed that worked with punter Chris Gardocki last week. Gardocki averaged only 40.9 yards and had two punts returned 33 and 23 yards against the Ravens. Cowher pointed out those shortcomings to reporters.

But Gardocki weathered the rain in Miami with a long punt of 58 yards, three punts dropped on the 5-, 8 and 5-yard lines and 54- and 47-yard efforts from the end zone.

"He came back after having not so good a week against Baltimore," Cowher said. "It was a field position game, and I think Chris played a big part in that."

Cowher is hoping for a similar recovery from Reed on Sunday when the Steelers play the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field.

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