After a disappointing preseason and two more mediocre performances to start the year from Jordan Berry, it would appear the Pittsburgh Steelers’ patience is finally wearing thin. Despite issues with his star receiver failing to show at practice on Monday, the topic that seemed to inspire the most displeasure from Mike Tomlin in his weekly press conference on Tuesday was the performance of his punter.
When asked if he was comfortable with Berry as his punter, Tomlin’s response should give the Australian specialist cause for concern about his long-term future with the team.
“I’m not comfortable with the results I have seen thus far, its got to be better. I thought field position was significant in terms of how that game unfolded. Net punting, they did an awesome job and we’ve got to do better. . . . We were trying to minimize their return man’s impact on the game for sure. Even with some of that directional stuff, I thought we could have been better. It’s reasonable to expect us to be better.”
With his answer leading to the obvious question as to whether the Steelers would be looking at other options for the job in the coming days, Tomlin’s response suggested Berry could well have a bit of competition to worry about this week.
As it transpired, “we may” was code for we will, after it was reported later in the day that the team had hosted two punters for tryouts on Tuesday.
Steelers tried out punters Jeff Locke (UCLA) and Justin Vogel (Miami) as well as LS Nick Meadows (WVU). @TheAthleticPGH— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) September 18, 2018
Berry’s struggles have been well documented this year and it would be fair to say he has never been one of the league’s elite players at his position. With names including Shane Lechler currently available as free agents, it doesn’t seem like an impossible task to find someone else capable of doing a better job — and even if Pittsburgh doesn’t make a change this week, it can’t hurt to look.