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Oviedo
06-23-2008, 09:26 AM
I think Miller and Spaeth could have monster seasons. Who on any defense could stop boith of them? I hope Ben matures and tempers his impulse to throw deep and uses both these guys as the weapons they can be.

Contrary to the naysayers, Spaeth was an outstanding selection and this year he really proves it. As the article mentions everyone conveniently forgets that he was coming off shoulder surgery. Now healthy he will be a monster.

Big Spring for the Big TE
By Jim Wexell

Posted Jun 23, 2008


One of the most productive Steelers this spring was 6-foot-7 tight end Matt Spaeth, who tells Jim Wexell why he feels so confident about improving on his rookie season this year.

The Steelers committed to throwing to the tight end last season, and they did. The cumulative numbers in 2006 were smashed in 2007 -- by Heath Miller himself.
Miller caught 47 passes last season for 566 yards and 7 touchdowns. The corps in 2006 caught 41 passes for 466 yards and 6 touchdowns.

The rest of the Steelers’ tight ends didn’t help the totals much last season. Third-round rookie Matt Spaeth started with three touchdowns among his first four catches, but he caught only one more pass – against the New York Jets – the rest of the season.

Spaeth finished his rookie season with 5 catches for 34 yards and 3 touchdowns. He bettered that output the first week, maybe the first day, of spring drills.

“A year makes a huge difference,” said Spaeth. “In college, I hate to say it, but very rarely did I drop balls. And when I got here last year I was frustrated because I was dropping balls. But it’s such an adjustment that first year because you’re learning everything new, especially early, and everything’s happening faster, the ball’s there faster. Now I’m so much more confident in everything. Everything has slowed down and everything’s so much easier.”

Spaeth said that while he caught only one pass for six yards in the final 12 regular-season games, and one pass for seven yards in the playoffs, he wasn’t slumping.

“I was probably playing better towards the end of the year,” he said. “I didn’t have the catches, but there’s a lot more to the game than that. I was blocking better. I knew all my assignments a lot better towards the end of the year.” After a slow start, Spaeth arguably developed into the best blocker among the Steelers’ tight ends last season. But Spaeth won’t say that.

“I don’t want to say that because Heath is an all-around great player,” he said. “I’ve learned a lot from him in both aspects of being a tight end – blocking and receiving. Heath’s solid in every aspect. And I know my role. I’ve got to be there when the opportunities are given to catch the ball, but as of now I understand my role, which is going to be more of a run-blocking tight end.”

What about it Heath? Was Spaeth a better blocker last season?

Miller chuckled. “I don’t know,” he said. “I think Matt’s a good blocker. I definitely try to learn from him because from Day One, when he stepped on the field, I knew he was really sound fundamentally and is someone who’d be good to watch, for me just to kind of check myself on because his footwork’s always good, his leverage is always good, his hands are always good, so I just try to learn from him and stay on top of my game.”

“I think a lot of it has to do with how you study the film,” Spaeth said. “It’s a little different from college to now. At first I was worried about technique. I would watch film and say, ‘I’ve got to do this on this play. I’m responsible for blocking this guy in this look,’ or something like that. And then later on in the year you’d know that, so now you’re studying your opponent saying, ‘He likes to play this block this way, or this thing this way.’ You kind of get a better understanding.”

Were the coaches pleased?

“Yeah,” Spaeth said. “Everything I got from them, postseason and now, was positive, and now I’m going out and trying to prove myself every down so my role will only be expanded.”

Spaeth, at 6-7, 270 pounds, is representative of the target size the Steelers presented to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger this spring. He’s one of four tight ends who are 6-5 or taller.

“I’m trying to still improve on my run-blocking, even though I’m not trying to put on weight or size,” Spaeth said. “I think I’m carrying my weight a lot better this year, because I came out last season and didn’t really have an offseason. I came off of a reconstructive shoulder surgery and I really didn’t do much training. Because of it I was laid up for three months not doing anything. I had another surgery before that, so this is kind of like the first real offseason I’ve had in a long time, so I’m excited to see the results with all the hard work I’m putting into it.”

Does Spaeth have a goal this season?

“I never have a goal as far as catches,” he said. “My only goal is to have a great year run-blocking and then, with every opportunity that I’m given, to make the most of catching the ball.”

RuthlessBurgher
06-23-2008, 10:23 AM
I liked Spaeth as a prospect last year, and I think we have a heck of a good duo now. I was projecting Spaeth to the Steelers in, say, the 5th round last year instead of the 3rd, but still, he is on our roster now, and I look forward to them trying to take advantage of his talents now that he has a year under his belt and should be fully healed.

Oviedo
06-23-2008, 10:34 AM
I liked Spaeth as a prospect last year, and I think we have a heck of a good duo now. I was projecting Spaeth to the Steelers in, say, the 5th round last year instead of the 3rd, but still, he is on our roster now, and I look forward to them trying to take advantage of his talents now that he has a year under his belt and should be fully healed.

I really don't think Spaeth would have lasted until the 5th. I really side on the philosophy if you really like a player for your team you take them when they are available instead of hoping to get them later.

Shawn
06-23-2008, 11:15 AM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.

SteelerNation1
06-23-2008, 11:20 AM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.
On the money smg. I think the one guy on offense who's going to have a monster season is #7. The players around him will all contribute but I can't see a one guy being completely dominant.

Shawn
06-23-2008, 11:41 AM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.
On the money smg. I think the one guy on offense who's going to have a monster season is #7. The players around him will all contribute but I can't see a one guy being completely dominant.

Ben certainly has the supporting cast. This should be a career year for him...well if he can stay off his back.

papillon
06-23-2008, 12:22 PM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.

At what expense? I hope none and that the STs and O-line make us all forget about last year. We'll see...

Pappy

Shawn
06-23-2008, 12:42 PM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.

At what expense? I hope none and that the STs and O-line make us all forget about last year. We'll see...

Pappy

Good question Pap. I have wondered the same thing. The thing is...having that many weapons will certain mask some of the deficiencies on the OL. Teams will not be able to merely pin their ears back. I truely believe our OL will see more vanilla blitzes as teams have to drop more back into coverage. Ben might be the absolute best at throwing under pressure. I don't think any QB in the NFL does it as well as Ben.

Oviedo
06-23-2008, 01:24 PM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.

At what expense? I hope none and that the STs and O-line make us all forget about last year. We'll see...

Pappy

Ben can control the sacks as much as his OL. He needs to dump the ball to secondary receivers instead of trying to extend every play into an ESPN highlight. The TEs are the ones who Ben can use to help himself. Miller and Spaeth are good receivers who are tough for most LBs to cover. Use them and get the LBs chasing them. Those LBs then can't be used to blitz. It is all connected.

steelblood
06-23-2008, 01:25 PM
Spaeth was a reach. No doubt. I believe the Steelers misjudged his skill set a bit. Immediately after the draft, Arians was going on and on about Spaeth's speed. Dude runs well for his size, but he is not a guy that beats safteties down the seam as Arians intimated he would.

But, perhaps he'll turn into a valuable weapon. And, if anything happens to Heath, he should be ready to step in this year and contribute.

papillon
06-23-2008, 02:24 PM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.

At what expense? I hope none and that the STs and O-line make us all forget about last year. We'll see...

Pappy

Good question Pap. I have wondered the same thing. The thing is...having that many weapons will certain mask some of the deficiencies on the OL. Teams will not be able to merely pin their ears back. I truely believe our OL will see more vanilla blitzes as teams have to drop more back into coverage. Ben might be the absolute best at throwing under pressure. I don't think any QB in the NFL does it as well as Ben.

Ben is very good at escaping pressure and making a throw and I agree there isn't anyone in the NFL that does that better than Ben. Ben, however, is not the best passer under duress while being contained in the pocket. He doesn't locate the hot receiver quickly enough or the hot receiver doesn't get open quickly enough and, on occasion Ben just refuses to throw it away.

Sometimes it's better to live and fight another day.

Pappy

Oviedo
06-23-2008, 02:32 PM
I can't really say that I was excited about picking up a second TE in the 3rd round. But, I seen Spaeth play back at Minnesota. He is a weapon that is for sure. I don't see anyone having a "monster" season. I see everyone having a good season. I see Ben having the luxury of being able to spread the ball around. I mean he will be able to throw to Ward, Holmes, Sweed, Mendenhall, Miller, and Spaeth. That is quite the crew. The Steelers have now surrounded their franchise QB with a proper supporting cast at the skill positions and that really excites me.

At what expense? I hope none and that the STs and O-line make us all forget about last year. We'll see...

Pappy


Good question Pap. I have wondered the same thing. The thing is...having that many weapons will certain mask some of the deficiencies on the OL. Teams will not be able to merely pin their ears back. I truely believe our OL will see more vanilla blitzes as teams have to drop more back into coverage. Ben might be the absolute best at throwing under pressure. I don't think any QB in the NFL does it as well as Ben.

Ben is very good at escaping pressure and making a throw and I agree there isn't anyone in the NFL that does that better than Ben. Ben, however, is not the best passer under duress while being contained in the pocket. He doesn't locate the hot receiver quickly enough or the hot receiver doesn't get open quickly enough and, on occasion Ben just refuses to throw it away.

Sometimes it's better to live and fight another day.

Pappy

:Agree

Mr Smartmonies
06-23-2008, 03:50 PM
Ben had 32 TD passes and like only 11 picks last season. In all my years watching football, I never saw another Steeler QB do that. In fact I don't even remember john Elway tossing 32 TD's n a year. maybe it happened , but I just don't recall it. Did Tom brady ever throw for more than 30 before Moss entered the picture? #2 TD's and 11 picks. Ben played as well as he could. He now needs the team to raise up their level of play. He had someone pressuring him on nearly every play last year. Very rare did I see Roethlisberger drop back and have time like Brady to scan the field. We expect Miracles from our QB. Even though he was second to Brady in just about every stat last year. But asking our RB to put the ball in the end zone more then twice, or have a little more consistenty from play to play is incomprehnsible to many.

Ozey74
06-23-2008, 04:12 PM
Ben had 32 TD passes and like only 11 picks last season. In all my years watching football, I never saw another Steeler QB do that. In fact I don't even remember john Elway tossing 32 TD's n a year. maybe it happened , but I just don't recall it. Did Tom brady ever throw for more than 30 before Moss entered the picture? #2 TD's and 11 picks. Ben played as well as he could. He now needs the team to raise up their level of play. He had someone pressuring him on nearly every play last year. Very rare did I see Roethlisberger drop back and have time like Brady to scan the field. We expect Miracles from our QB. Even though he was second to Brady in just about every stat last year. But asking our RB to put the ball in the end zone more then twice, or have a little more consistenty from play to play is incomprehnsible to many.

:Agree

It's mind boggling to me that Ben did as well as he did with all the pressure he had!!! Hell, he would get sacked 5 times in a game & praise his o-line. What a great teammate, IMO. Had Manning had to deal with that all he would of done is cried :Binky
If Peyton had to our o-line to work with, could you imagine how many sacks would of been given up.

IMO, Ben is a God-send. Now, he has plenty of toys to play with. I'm hoping and praying that at Hartwig can produce at C, we can find good play at the LT position, and have another o-lineman have a unexpected results for us.

mshifko
06-23-2008, 04:23 PM
to me, it's not so much of ben using them, it's arians using them...last year he couldn't use them because we had to keep them in to help block...

people don't really realize how stacked we are offensively...if our oline plays well and that's a big IF, we could put up a ton of points...

RuthlessBurgher
06-23-2008, 04:28 PM
IMO, Ben is a God-send.

http://fredcarrow.com/websites/FredCarrow/works/3379_73499m.jpg

Ozey74
06-23-2008, 04:33 PM
to me, it's not so much of ben using them, it's arians using them...last year he couldn't use them because we had to keep them in to help block...

people don't really realize how stacked we are offensively...if our oline plays well and that's a big IF, we could put up a ton of points...

You make a fine point. There have been plenty of times the play calling left me scratching my head. If I can recall correctly, the Steelers were 1st and goal inside the 5 and they ran 3 running plays & we had to settle for a field goal. I think Ward was involved in a reverse that failed miserablely. Can anyone recall this situation?

papillon
06-23-2008, 11:30 PM
to me, it's not so much of ben using them, it's arians using them...last year he couldn't use them because we had to keep them in to help block...

people don't really realize how stacked we are offensively...if our oline plays well and that's a big IF, we could put up a ton of points...

You make a fine point. There have been plenty of times the play calling left me scratching my head. If I can recall correctly, the Steelers were 1st and goal inside the 5 and they ran 3 running plays & we had to settle for a field goal. I think Ward was involved in a reverse that failed miserablely. Can anyone recall this situation?

It wasn't a reverse where the flanker or WR veers into the backfield to take a deep hand off trying to get wide. If I'm thinking of the correct set of downs, Ward came in motion towards the inside and after Ben took the snap he slipped the ball to Ward on an inside hand off. Regardless, the play failed miserably.

Pappy

Mick'sTeam
06-23-2008, 11:40 PM
Good article and I'm glad to hear Spaeth has had such a good spring.

As someone said, I believe it was SMG, the organization has definitely surrounded their franchise QB with playmakers. However, I'm worried about being able to keep them all happy. I believe with the addition of Sweed, our WR group will be very good, and our RB tandem & TE tandem could be hard to beat. Unfortunately, there are only so many passes to go around. Does anyone fear that if some of these young guys don't feel they get the ball enough they could opt to leave once their rookie contracts are up?

BIG FAN
06-24-2008, 02:33 AM
When I first saw the thread, I was thinking we heard how much we were going to use them, but sometimes last year ,
(even though as a whole the TE production was up ) I still felt like they were under-utilised. I believe also that some play-calling was suspect as well.
Where is the common ground here about TE anyways? With all the touted new weapons Ben is supposed to have this year, how many times can we actually give it the TE's?

Oviedo
06-24-2008, 07:31 AM
Good article and I'm glad to hear Spaeth has had such a good spring.

As someone said, I believe it was SMG, the organization has definitely surrounded their franchise QB with playmakers. However, I'm worried about being able to keep them all happy. I believe with the addition of Sweed, our WR group will be very good, and our RB tandem & TE tandem could be hard to beat. Unfortunately, there are only so many passes to go around. Does anyone fear that if some of these young guys don't feel they get the ball enough they could opt to leave once their rookie contracts are up?

I think they can keep them happy as long as they win. The one who can set the tone and be a real leader is Hines. The addition of Sweed, a pass catching Mendenhall and the emergence of TEs will likely effect his opportunities the most. This is the time where he can set the example and not dwell on personal achievement, but help these younger players be better for the team much like Bettis did.

Djfan
06-24-2008, 01:21 PM
Good article and I'm glad to hear Spaeth has had such a good spring.

As someone said, I believe it was SMG, the organization has definitely surrounded their franchise QB with playmakers. However, I'm worried about being able to keep them all happy. I believe with the addition of Sweed, our WR group will be very good, and our RB tandem & TE tandem could be hard to beat. Unfortunately, there are only so many passes to go around. Does anyone fear that if some of these young guys don't feel they get the ball enough they could opt to leave once their rookie contracts are up?

I think they can keep them happy as long as they win. The one who can set the tone and be a real leader is Hines. The addition of Sweed, a pass catching Mendenhall and the emergence of TEs will likely effect his opportunities the most. This is the time where he can set the example and not dwell on personal achievement, but help these younger players be better for the team much like Bettis did.

This is where leadership has to step up. The Steelers have always had the "Team before individual" thing going on. If a player didn't fit that mold we let them walk (Plex - maybe, still being debated.). If the team leaders build this concept in the new guys it will be fine. If not, then adios!

Give me a team of "B-" players who are a team, over a bunch of "Me first" idiots with a few superstars any day.

Oviedo
06-24-2008, 03:31 PM
Good article and I'm glad to hear Spaeth has had such a good spring.

As someone said, I believe it was SMG, the organization has definitely surrounded their franchise QB with playmakers. However, I'm worried about being able to keep them all happy. I believe with the addition of Sweed, our WR group will be very good, and our RB tandem & TE tandem could be hard to beat. Unfortunately, there are only so many passes to go around. Does anyone fear that if some of these young guys don't feel they get the ball enough they could opt to leave once their rookie contracts are up?

I think they can keep them happy as long as they win. The one who can set the tone and be a real leader is Hines. The addition of Sweed, a pass catching Mendenhall and the emergence of TEs will likely effect his opportunities the most. This is the time where he can set the example and not dwell on personal achievement, but help these younger players be better for the team much like Bettis did.

This is where leadership has to step up. The Steelers have always had the "Team before individual" thing going on. If a player didn't fit that mold we let them walk (Plex - maybe, still being debated.). If the team leaders build this concept in the new guys it will be fine. If not, then adios!

Give me a team of "B-" players who are a team, over a bunch of "Me first" idiots with a few superstars any day.


Can and will Hines be that type of player? He already owns all the Steeler records so being that kind of player in my mind cements his place as one of the greatest ever.

RuthlessBurgher
06-25-2008, 10:15 AM
Did anyone else have to do a double-take when the "Bradshaw Admits to Steroid Use" thread appeared and right next to it was this thread that said "I hope Ben uses them" in the title? :shock: My eyes must have completely glossed over the "TE article" portion of this thread title. :lol:

AngryAsian
06-26-2008, 07:24 AM
Did anyone else have to do a double-take when the "Bradshaw Admits to Steroid Use" thread appeared and right next to it was this thread that said "I hope Ben uses them" in the title? :shock: My eyes must have completely glossed over the "TE article" portion of this thread title. :lol:


Yes.... and nearly pooped eggrolls. :lol: