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Steelers Punter Ready for Prove-It Game vs. Bills



The Steelers brought in legitimate competition for Pressley Harvin III in the form of Braden Mann from the New York Jets. Mann got an opportunity to show off what he could do against the Buccaneers, while Harvin will be the guy for the team on Saturday against the Bills. However, so far through training camp, Harvin seems to be the guy that is showing off and building his resume this summer in a meaningful way.

On Thursday, Harvin put an exclamation point on that. Harvin has simply been the more consistent and better punter. He brings better directional punting, and while both can boom it, Harvin has grasped the intricacies of the punting job better than it appears. Harvin showed off all those traits on Thursday, including a great direction punt to the right that went over 50 yards and would have pinned a team inside their own 5-yard line from around the Steelers’ 35-yard line.

Of course, to me, everything rides on what happens in this game on Saturday since Harvin will get out there for the first time. But right now, I just have a lot of questions about Mann’s consistency despite some great flashes of ability to drive the football. Harvin has to maintain that and he should win the job.

As it stands, Harvin still needs to prove he can do it in a game setting. That’s the big thing for Harvin. But this year, he seems to have waned some of the inconsistency back. The next two games will be pivotal to Harvin in order for him to clinch that job after getting the leg up during training camp. Pittsburgh needs to see that consistency translates to in-stadium environments without bad shanks, something that has plagued Harvin in his two-year career in the NFL. However, so far, Mann has not done much to prove that he should be kept over Harvin.

So, Saturday represents the first time this season that Harvin gets to prove what he can on the field. His consistency on the practice field is something that is encouraging. But does it mean anything with out tangible in game punts to back it up? The answer to that remains no, and Harvin has to back it up since Mann could not capitalize on his opportunity against the Buccaneers.

Over his career, Harvin won against Jordan Berry in his first year with the consistency that has not shown up since. In fact, the shanks were never a problem when he was at Georgia Tech. But still, they arise and in year three, Harvin needs to take the leap the Steelers have been waiting to see him make. On Saturday, he needs to shut down any speculation and grab a vice grip of the starting punter job.

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