It’s difficult to quantify the performance on special teamers. And frankly, there isn’t much data out there beyond the conventional ones you’d find in an ESPN boxscore.
Chuck Zodda over at Inside The Pylon has attempted to do just that, and is one of the best special teams’ evaluators around. He put together a quick method of a better way to evaluate a punter’s ability beyond net and gross average. He broke it down into two categories: open field and pin deep punting. The gross average of a punter when he isn’t looking for a touchback, in the open field, and his ability to avoid touchbacks on pin deep (on your own 41 yard line and closer).
Jordan Berry came out on top in that latter category, recording just one touchback in 28 opportunities. Four other punters met that mark but Berry had the most opportunities, according to Zodda.
Of course, without the help of Ross Ventrone Sunday, batting a punt back into play, Berry wouldn’t have held that top spot. But overall, his coffin corner – to use a laymen’s term – ability has been excellent for a first year player who went stints with barely punting during the course of the season.
It is also a credit to Mike Tomlin for often repping it in training camp and preaching the mentality of avoiding touchbacks and forcing offenses into long fields.
Berry did struggle in the open field punting category, finishing near the bottom and far below the league average. He did, however, outperform former Steelers’ punt Drew Butler – who came in last – and slightly worse than Brad Wing, who finished about average.
The Tennessee Titans’ Brett Kern finished the best overall, ranking first in open field punts and second in pin deep opportunities.