Steelers Still Waiting On Returns From Rookie RB Dri Archer

During his four years at Kent State, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Dri Archer returned 52 kickoffs for 1,436 yards and four touchdowns. During his first two preseason games with the Steelers, however, he hasn’t returned any.

During the preseason, one would think that teams would like to work on their kickoff coverage units but that hasn’t necessarily been the case in the Steelers first two preseason games and as result we’ve yet to see what Archer can do on returns with that speed of his.

The lone kickoff return that the Steelers have had thus far during the preseason belongs to backup wide receiver James Shaw, who decided to bring out a kick six yards deep into the end zone by Bills kicker Dan Carpenter midway through the third quarter of Saturday night’s game. That return ended at the Steelers own 21-yard-line.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin has taken the opposite approach with kicker Shaun Suisham as he said Saturday night during his post game press conference that he’s told his kicker not to boot his kickoffs out of the end zone.

“Yeah we have to cover kicks. The only way you get to know some of these coverage guys is to put balls in play,” said Tomlin. “Shaun could put the ball throughout the back of the endzone like some of these people we’re playing but we want to see what our kickoff coverage teams are capable of because it’s going to get into the season. I rather know now than to know then.”

The Steelers will play the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night on the road and in their two previous preseason games a total of six kickoffs have been returned for a total of 151 yards. Hopefully they decide to let Archer return a few in that game.

As far as punt returns go for Archer, he could use a little more work in that area as well. In the first two games he’s returned a total of two for four yards while fair catching another.

  • 2443scott

    and the rest of the league dont want him to return any thing ….if it was up to me i would never have my kicker let there be a return why take a chance of a big run back or a td when you can keep them on 20 yard line to start

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    Because in weathered conditions, not even Justin Tucker can kick it into endzone every time. You are right; the league WOULDN’T want Dri Archer to return the kicks. This kid is exceptional unique player!

  • pat

    There is better odds of a fumble than a touchdown return I would much rather them return against us a hope for a big hit and fumble

  • steeltown

    I don’t understand why Teams are kicking out of the end zone in preseason especially in the first 2games, chance for injury aside you have to get a look at your coverage teams in preseason, as Tomlin mentioned.

  • Jacque Strappe

    For the life of me I don’t understand why the other teams that don’t have kickers in competition for a job, just kick one to see what your coverage unit has, like the Steelers have done. I say kudos to our guys for doing so to evaluate players. That minor ignorance will rear it’s head and bite some teams this season. Tough to find out you suck on return coverage week 1.

  • mem359

    I wonder why teams bother to punt inbounds anymore.

    They’ll lose 5-10 yards aiming for the sidelines (or maybe a bit more if the kick is mishit), but it would eliminate the threat of long returns.

  • steeltown


  • Jacque Strappe

    Cause some guys drop punts. Other guys cough it up when they get jacked up. But I understand your point.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    No worries about KR for Archer as by the time they play outdoor games in November and December, you will see some returns and Dri will probably return at least 1 for a TD. I’m with you on the punt returns. Archer needs more work and I don’t mind him fair catching most of them, because when he gets a low one that’s safe to return, look out! We will all be on the edge of our seats!

  • Bill

    Hard to return kicks that go beyond the end line.

  • mem359

    A similar argument could be made about kickoffs.

    It just seems strange that teams would look to kick out of the end zone, but not have a similar mind set for punts. (Or when they get a penalty that moves the kick-off up 10-15 yards, and still kick it out of the end zone.)

  • cencalsteeler

    Good, keep him locked up in a bottle until the season starts.
    Hey Goodell! Instead of moving the extra point back, let’s move the kickoff back. Touchbacks are boring and a waste of time.

  • PA2AK

    at the game saturday, some guy was complaining about suisham not getting them through the endzone like the other guys. I just smile and nod, smile and nod.

  • srdan

    he obviously doesnt hang out on steelersdepot lol

  • PA2AK

    hahaha clearly. i often find myself talking some steeler football with guys and just saying…”shhhh go to this site and we can talk again next year”

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Tomlin has the right idea. Better to look bad now than when it counts. The other teams are wasting valuable scrimmage time.