The Pittsburgh Steelers had several roster battles remaining as they headed into their final preseason game last night. I don’t know that we gained sufficient clarity in many of them. But the data that is now available to the team is all they’re going to get as they brace for the final roster cuts.
One of the tightest competitions has been at punter, between incumbent Jordan Berry and rookie seventh-round pick Pressley Harvin III. Both of them have performed well throughout the Summer, both in training camp in the preseason, but the general thought is that ties go to the draft pick.
Both Harvin and Berry got a lot of work last night, since the offense was terrible, resulting in their punting a total of eight times, with each getting four boots. Harvin averaged 43.8 yards on his four punts with one inside the 20, while Berry averaged 42.3 on his with one inside the 20. But as said, both of their overall tape has been good, and one wonders if one of them might not be traded.
“It was pretty good”, Harvin said in assessing his own preseason performance after last night’s game. “Started out on a good foot, just getting adjusted to these things and continuing to build a foundation for myself in this league”.
Harvin punted in the first preseason game, then Berry punted all of the second. In all, Harvin attempted five punts in the first three preseason games, grossing 46.6 yards per and netting 45.8, with three of them landing inside of the 20-yard line. Three were returned for a total of four yards. According to Pro Football Focus, his averaging hangtime was 4.34 seconds.
Berry, in comparison, had only the four punts in game two prior to last night. He grossed 44 yards with a net of 42.3, with two inside the 20 and one seven-yard return, but he averaged 4.62 seconds in hangtime, which is what you want to see.
“Learning from good guys like [Chris] Boswell, especially Jordan Berry too”, Harvin said, he “looked up to him pretty good. He’s been a big help throughout this process of getting me adjusted because it’s a different game. It’s the same job but it’s a little bit different. Everything’s weighted a little bit more. It’s definitely been a journey. I’m definitely appreciative of it too”.
Overall, I think most would agree that Harvin played well enough to deserve an opportunity to have a job, but the same could be said of Berry. It wouldn’t be surprising if both were punting in week one, albeit in different uniforms.