Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has expressed dissatisfaction with his team’s punt game several times in recent weeks, including this past Tuesday, when he said: “I acknowledge that our punting is not up to snuff and that we have to get better in that area….”
On Friday the Steelers made a move toward that end, releasing 16-year veteran Dustin Colquitt, who was signed at the beginning of the season after spending 15 years with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In five games with the Steelers, Colquitt punted 20 times for an average of 43.1 yards per kick, well off his 44.8 yard career average. Even more problematic, he had the second-worst net in the league at just 36.0 yards per punt. No NFL team—especially an undefeated club with Super Bowl aspirations—can live with that kind of performance over the extended term.
Who Will Punt for the Steelers on Sunday?
While some Steelers fans have been clamoring for the organization to sign flamboyant ex-Raiders punter Marquette King, he doesn’t seem like a good fit personality-wise. Yes, King is tied for fourth all-time in yards per punt and at one point had a five-year, $16.5 million contract with the Raiders, but his penchant for personal expression (see the above-linked article) make him seem like someone who should have been punting during the Antonio Brown/Le’Veon Bell era, but not for the team-oriented 2020 Steelers.
Meanwhile, it doesn’t seem like Pittsburgh is going to re-sign Jordan Berry, despite having the former Steelers punter in for a visit earlier this week.
Multiple Steelers beat reporters, including Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, are of the mind that the Steelers are going to elevate Corliss Waitman (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) from the team’s practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.
Waitman, 25, has been a part of the team’s practice squad since it was initially formulated at the beginning of the season.
He was signed by the Steelers as undrafted rookie free agent on April 28, 2020.
During his four years at South Alabama he punted 158 times for an average of 42.7 yards per kick. He subsequently transferred to Mississippi State but was denied another year of eligibility by the NCAA and sat out the 2019 season.
He will wear #8 for the Steelers.
ILB Devin Bush Placed on Injured Reserve
As expected, on Friday the Steelers also placed linebacker Devin Bush on the team’s reserve/injured list. Earlier this week, Bush had knee surgery to repair a damaged ACL and the Steelers have said he will be out for the remainder of the 2020 season.
Bush is the second Steelers player to go down with a season-ending ACL injury this year, following in the wake of right tackle Zach Banner, who tore his ACL during the opener against the New York Giants.
At the moment, offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski is the only other player on the team’s IR list, though Wisniewski is expected to come off the list sometime between now and November 4th.
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