The #ForTheBrand movement has officially taken off and has been thriving ever since Pat McAfee left the NFL. With that in mind, special teams plays have drawn more attention than ever before, providing a platform for both the good and the bad in that department.
For all of Steeler Nation, including the players, the 2018 season has been utterly dreadful. Perhaps none more-so than for Jordan Berry. After arriving in 2015 to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Berry was an instant success. In preseason he out-punted Brad Wing – who has since bounced around the league and is now a FA – averaging 49.8 yards per punt on 19 attempts.
That season he achieved a career-long 79-yard punt, whilst amassing 2511 yards collectively on 59 attempts. That made for an average of 42.6 yards per punt, and ultimately was a bright start for the young Australian.
In the following season Berry had largely improved, punting a total of 68 times for 3100 yards, averaging 45.6 yards per punt. Despite this improvement, he has since dropped off in production, with his punt average reducing in the last two years consecutively. Furthermore, he has been ‘consistently inconsistent’ all season long, which has become an all too familiar sight in Pittsburgh.
To emphasize my point, Jordan Berry ranks 30th overall in average punt yardage this season (43.7). He also rests 26th in net punting average with 38.8 yards per punt. That said, it must be acknowledged that a poor net punting average reflects negatively on the special teams unit as a whole because return yardage is factored into that statistic.
Berry himself has since stated he’d like to remain in Pittsburgh should that be a possibility. In addition, he acknowledged the poor start he produced but believes he more than made up for it.
— Hunter Alek Homistek (@HunterAHomistek) January 1, 2019
Stanford’s latest prospect in Jack Bailey may be exactly what the Steelers need. This season he has averaged 44 yards per punt, boasting a long of 84 yards. He has also punted for over 50 yards sixteen times. He concluded the season with 59 punts for 2595 yards, which includes 21 attempts inside the 20. Bailey has been projected to be selected between the sixth or seventh round in the 2019 Draft.
— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) July 2, 2018
With the evident lack of cap space and Berry’s poor performances as of late, I find it highly likely he’ll return to Heinz Field. 2018 has not been a great year for special teams in the Steel City, and for me, it’s time for a change.
Image Rights – steelers.com