It’s been a while since the Pittsburgh Steelers have had a legitimate weapon at the punting position and based on the way their defense has played so far during the preseason, they sure could use one in 2015. In their blowout loss Saturday to the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers may have found that weapon.
The preseason punting battle between incumbent Brad Wing and newcomer Jordan Berry has been a good one, but the latter of the two may have taken a commanding lead in that competition on Saturday.
Berry, who punted four times Saturday for a 58.3 yard average, even had to kickoff twice during the game after kicker Garrett Hartley injured his right hamstring in the first half and was unable to finish. Head coach Mike Tomlin made his feelings known about Berry’s performance after the game
“Boy, I like the work of Berry in relief [of Hartley],” said Tomlin during his post-game press conference. “He had an opportunity to show some versatility there and good work on his part.”
Berry, who played his college ball at Eastern Kentucky, was signed by the Steelers as an undrafted free agent in April. In 14 preseason punts, he has registered a 49.5 yard average and a net average of 40.9 yards. His long of 78 yards took place on Saturday but that punt ultimately rolled into the Bills end zone for a touchback.
As for Wing, who was the Steelers punter last season, he has a 49.1 yard average on 11 preseason punts with a net average of 36.5 yards. He punted twice on Saturday with a long of 53 yards.
It will be interesting to see if the Steelers declare a winner in the coming days as they will soon need to trim their roster down to 75 players. Based on the luck they’ve had so far with their kickers, maybe it would be wise to hold on to both punters for one more week.