The Pittsburgh Steelers are back in the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier than they had anticipated, having been ousted from the postseason in the opening round, which unfortunately marks a slight improvement from the past two seasons, during which they did not even qualify for the playoffs altogether. They have now done four seasons without securing a victory beyond regular season play.
Yet again, they find themselves undergoing the exit meeting process earlier than anticipated, which means so are we.
They did manage to go 12-4 during the regular season, and secured their first AFC North title since 2017, posting a new franchise record by opening the season with 11 consecutive wins, but of course it all fell apart after that. Their only victory after that required a 17-point comeback.
While we might not know all the details about what goes on between head coach Mike Tomlin and his players during these exit meetings, we do know how we would conduct those meetings if they were let up to us. So here are the Depot’s exit meetings for the Steelers’ roster following the 2020 season.
Player: Jordan Berry
Experience: 6 Years
2020 marked the sixth year that Jordan Berry served as the Steelers’ punter, but it was also his most contentious—so contentious, of course, that he was actually cut before the start of the season. After making the initial 53-man roster, the team decided that they could do better, and signed veteran Dustin Colquitt to take his place.
The only problem was that Colquitt, clearly at the tail end of his career, struggled significantly, doing worse than Berry had ever done, which resulted in Pittsburgh releasing him after just five games and re-signing Berry to finish out the season.
He would post a career-high 45.8-yard gross punting average during the year, and also managed a net average of 40.5 yards. The Steelers have just three seasons in team history in which a punter finished with a net average of 40-plus yards. Berry has all three of them, including a team-record 40.9 in 2019, which the team decided wasn’t good enough.
Of course it’s never that simple. 40 net yards used to be a good standard, but the punting position has evolved a lot over the past couple of decades, and Berry’s figure rests comfortably inside of the bottom half of the league, with today’s better punters able to post net averages of 45 yards or better.
Given that the Steelers were willing to walk away from him last year, it should go without saying that he by no means has a secure position for the 2021 season. He will certainly be re-signed on the cheap and brought back into training camp to compete for a job, but don’t be surprised if they even draft a punter this year, something they haven’t done since they drafted Daniel Sepulveda in the fourth round back in 2007. The problem being, of course, that they have enough holes to worry about.