While Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown didn’t play Friday night in the team’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions, business was certainly boomin’ for another player wearing the black and gold in that game. Or in this particular case, punts were boomin’.
Steelers punter Jordan Berry punted three times Friday night at Heinz Field against the Lions and the boots traveled 61, 61 and 57 yards respectively. He posted a 59.7-yard average on those three punts and had a net of 56.3.
While not his longest punt of the three, Berry’s 57-yard effort was nicely angled to his right and as a result the Lions returner had no chance to return it. That punt included Berry catching the long snap while standing on his own goal-line.
Berry, the Steelers punter last season, has competition in the team’s training camp this year in the form of undrafted rookie free agent Will Monday, who played his college football at Duke. Monday had four punts of 36 48, 48, and 54 yards respectively after relieving Berry Friday night. His first effort, by far his worst in the game, was a low punt without much hang-time out of the Steelers end zone. It was returned 13 yards as a result.
While we certainly don’t know what special teams coordinator Danny Smith instructed both of his punters to do Friday night on the team’s 7 total punts in the game, it’s probably safe to assume that Berry was the one who pleased him the most.
Last year during the regular season, Berry punted a total of 59 times for a 42.6-yard average and a net average of 39.1-yards. 28 of those punts were inside the opponents’ 20-yard-line and 21 were fair-caught. He didn’t have a punt blocked last year and also only had 2 touchbacks.
It will be interesting to see if the Steelers shake up the punting rotation Thursday night in their second preseason game against the Philadelphia Eagles in order to see how Monday responds to the pressure. As things stand right now, he’ll really need to get his business boomin’ in order to beat out Berry for the punting job this season.