Now that training camp is underway, and the roster for the offseason is close to finalized—though always fluid—it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen happen over the course of the past few months.
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends, such as an accumulation of offseason activity. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the summer as we move forward.
Player: P Jordan Berry
Stock Value: Down
Give the Steelers’ defense credit. The Buffalo Bills may have scored 17 points on them, including two touchdowns, but both of their touchdown drives came on short fields. The second started from just the 18-yard line after a Devlin Hodges interception, but the first was set up by a shanked punt by Jordan Berry, just 22 yards to the Steelers’ own 40.
Again, to the defense’s credit, they even made positive plays to start both drives. The second touchdown came on third and nine. The Bills had to convert on fourth and long on the field drive while they were on the cusp of field goal range.
But the fact that they were in that position on the field almost surely influenced the Bills to go for it on that fourth down play, and that was entirely due to Berry’s bad punt, his worst of the season, and at a bad time.
In the midst of what had been his best season to date, he put out his worst game, with this punt of course being the lowlight, and there was no interference with his process in any way, shape, or form. He simply did not execute, and it put the defense in a bad spot, which they still nearly bailed out of, had Buffalo simply chosen to punt or attempt a long field goal.
In all, Berry punted five times for 215 yards, 43 average. One was returned for 12 yards, leaving him with 203 net yards on five punts, a bit over 40 yards net. That’s not a bad night overall, but when you consider that he was punting from deep in his own end, that is another matter.
Only once on Berry’s five punts did the Bills start from within their own 20-yard line. They started at at least their own 30-yard line three times. While no one punt was a clearly bad as the first, it was an overall underwhelming night for a player who had shown meaningful process this year, which is a disappointment amid a sea of them.