Steelers MMQB: NFL training camp news

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Let’s do better. That would be awesome.

Aug 9, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers running back Dri Archer (13) rushes for a first down against the New York Giants during first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

When the Steelers reported to training camp last weekend center Maurkice Pouncey had some strong words on the state of the kickoff return unit.

"“I’m ready to see Dri Archer do something. I’m excited for him. We need to go past the 15 on kickoff returns. That would be awesome.” – Maurkice Pouncey"

If there is a place on any NFL roster for a player like Dri Archer, it’s as a return specialist. The PPG’s Ray Fittipaldo points out that the Steelers have struggled with field position for a while due to their underwhelming production from the kickoff return unit.

Archer was given the opportunity to return kicks early last season but lost his job to Markus Wheaton and the Steelers still finished 26th in return yard average. For the Steelers’ 2015 season to be successful they’ll need the kickoff return unit to get the damn ball past the 15-yard line. Special teams coach Danny Smith explains that the returns have been a point of emphasis so far in camp.

"“We need to improve our kickoff-return stuff. We got off to a real slow start. We were bad early. We got decent, which made it just a below-average year. But we were awful early. We improved. That was a good thing. We have to continue that. We have to get better field position for our offense in that phase.” – Danny Smith"

Archer doesn’t have a solid role on the Steelers offense and his roster spot needs to be justified somehow. He was a third-round draft selection pretty much as a return specialist but he’s going to be fighting to win that job back and to keep it. The best way for him to do that is to return the damn ball and give the offense better field position.

Next: Steelers Cortez Allen: Comeback player for 2015?

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