The Pittsburgh Steelers spent many years searching for consistency at the punter position before finding it, at least in terms of personnel, in Jordan Berry over the course of the past five seasons. But on the eve of the 2020 season, however, they chose to move on and instead sign Dustin Colquitt, a 15-year veteran who is a two-time former Pro Bowler.
This was not a matter of somebody suddenly becoming available, as Colquitt has been on the market since the end of April. The decision, then, seems to indicate that the team was less than satisfied with what they saw out of Berry over the course of training camp. Head coach Mike Tomlin’s remarks earlier today would seem to suggest that as well.
“Colquitt is a guy that’s been around forever”, he noted first and foremost, during his opening remarks for the first Tomlin Tuesday of 2020. “We’ve had some significant competition against him over the course of 15 years or so that he was in Kansas City. I’ve got a great deal of respect for his resume”.
“I’m really excited about his floor”, he added. “As a 15-year veteran, a guy that’s seen a lot of circumstances, been in a lot of circumstances, we’ve got a great deal of comfort in his ability to deliver in a variety of circumstances and an unusual environment. He’s a savvy and seasoned holder. That’s gonna be an asset for his game and ours as it relates to Boz”.
When you bring somebody in after training camp and talk about being ‘excited about his floor’, that certainly sounds as though you felt the floor for the player he is replacing was not up to snuff. Now, we know that Berry’s consistency has been an issue throughout his career, so in light of this remark, it certainly sounds as though this move was made with an eye toward bringing a higher level of consistency from play to play rather than as a simple upgrade in performance.
The Steelers are a team who prefers to get a feel for what they have in training camp before they make significant roster tweaks. We’ve seen a number of late signings and trade acquisitions in recent years such as Vance McDonald and Joe Haden and Ryan Switzer, to name a few. When they get toward the end of training camp and realize they don’t have what they’d hoped, that’s when they look to make a change.
Ordinarily, you wouldn’t want to do that here. The specialist positions have to work in tandem. The punter holds the ball for the kicker on the field goal unit, so Chris Boswell has to get used to Colquitt. But they wouldn’t have done this move if they didn’t feel comfortable in this area.