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fordfixer
09-04-2008, 12:08 AM
New tight end provides offensive versatility
By Scott Brown
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, September 4, 2008
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 86349.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_586349.html)

The newest member of the Steelers said he wouldn't "label" himself as strictly a tight end or fullback.

Sean McHugh is capable and comfortable at both positions, which makes the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder an ideal fit for the Steelers' offense.

McHugh, who signed with the team after it cleared a roster spot by trading center Sean Mahan, is a journeyman. His addition to the Steelers, however, cannot be overlooked.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has made no secret that he likes employing three-tight end sets, and prior to Wednesday the Steelers didn't have another tight end behind starter Heath Miller and second-year man Matt Spaeth.

McHugh, who spent the previous three seasons with the Detroit Lions, is trying to learn enough of the offense to be able to play Sunday in the regular-season opener against the Houston Texans.

"That's the biggest thing right now, just getting that playbook down," said McHugh, who didn't practice yesterday because of a tender ankle but hopes to practice today. "You've kind of got to de-program yourself from what you know and kind of learn it all over again."

How quickly McHugh, who was recently cut by Detroit, picks up a new offense will determine how often the Steelers are able to use the formation that often can be deceiving.

"Whenever you see a three-tight end set, you're expecting run," quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said, "but because we do have the athletes at tight end, we can still throw the ball. We can still throw teams off."

Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward agreed.

"We don't necessarily run out of that. We pass," Ward said of when the Steelers have three tight ends and one wide receiver on the field. "I think half of our touchdowns from our three tight ends have come from three-tight end sets when we got down (near the goal line)."

Tight ends caught 11 of the 34 touchdown passes Steelers quarterbacks threw last season. That total may have been higher had Jerame Tuman played in more than six games.

After Tuman was lost to a back injury, the Steelers couldn't use the three-tight end formation as much or as effectively as they would have liked. They became thin enough at the position that mammoth offensive tackle Max Starks played tight end in some short-yardage situations in 2007.

If McHugh gives the Steelers another receiving threat at the position, they could cause match-up problems for opposing defenses by playing the fifth-year veteran at the same time as Miller and Spaeth.

"That's the idea behind it," Miller said. "(Defenses) have to make a decision to put in bigger personnel and hopefully we should be able throw the ball, or they can stay regular and we can run the ball."

McHugh should be able to help the running game becauee he has plenty of experience lining up as a fullback, something Arians also likes to do with his tight ends.

"I think versatility always helps players," McHugh said, "so we'll see where that develops."

Same goes for McHugh's role in the offense.

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

Oviedo
09-04-2008, 07:33 AM
Sounds to me after the dust settles this begins to look like a rational pick. A TE/FB who will actually dress on game day versus a OL or DL who won't.

I can see him giving more opportunities to Miller and Spaeth since neither would be in the backfield to block in 3 TE sets. This could be a good thing.

However, if we had drafted Owen Schmitt like I wanted we would have had the solution from the beginning. I had to throw in a small negative to make some feel comfortable. :wink:

SteelerNation1
09-04-2008, 07:47 AM
Sounds to me after the dust settles this begins to look like a rational pick. A TE/FB who will actually dress on game day versus a OL or DL who won't.

I can see him giving more opportunities to Miller and Spaeth since neither would be in the backfield to block in 3 TE sets. This could be a good thing.

However, if we had drafted Owen Schmitt like I wanted we would have had the solution from the beginning. I had to throw in a small negative to make some feel comfortable. :wink:
Tomlin LOVES position flexibility...Period.

Oviedo
09-04-2008, 07:52 AM
Sounds to me after the dust settles this begins to look like a rational pick. A TE/FB who will actually dress on game day versus a OL or DL who won't.

I can see him giving more opportunities to Miller and Spaeth since neither would be in the backfield to block in 3 TE sets. This could be a good thing.

However, if we had drafted Owen Schmitt like I wanted we would have had the solution from the beginning. I had to throw in a small negative to make some feel comfortable. :wink:
Tomlin LOVES position flexibility...Period.

In a salary cap environment he is very smart to love positional flexibility. Having players being able to play multiple positions gives you an advanatage on game day with who you can have active. I'm curious if this eventually gets Gary Russell active on game days and Carey davis inactive once McHugh learns the playbook.

BigBen2112
09-04-2008, 08:09 AM
Sounds to me after the dust settles this begins to look like a rational pick. A TE/FB who will actually dress on game day versus a OL or DL who won't.

I can see him giving more opportunities to Miller and Spaeth since neither would be in the backfield to block in 3 TE sets. This could be a good thing.

However, if we had drafted Owen Schmitt like I wanted we would have had the solution from the beginning. I had to throw in a small negative to make some feel comfortable. :wink:

And you wouldn't have some of us saying this was a dumb move if we had selected Schimitt and also selected some capable OL and DL in the draft as well.

Oh well, whatever.

Oviedo
09-04-2008, 08:49 AM
Sounds to me after the dust settles this begins to look like a rational pick. A TE/FB who will actually dress on game day versus a OL or DL who won't.

I can see him giving more opportunities to Miller and Spaeth since neither would be in the backfield to block in 3 TE sets. This could be a good thing.

However, if we had drafted Owen Schmitt like I wanted we would have had the solution from the beginning. I had to throw in a small negative to make some feel comfortable. :wink:

And you wouldn't have some of us saying this was a dumb move if we had selected Schimitt and also selected some capable OL and DL in the draft as well.

Oh well, whatever.

See my mock draft with more picks from trade down is below:

Round 1/1.31: Calais Campbell, DT/DE, 68, 280lbs., U of Miami.
Round 2/2.54: Carl Nicks, OT, 65, 330lbs. Nebraska.
Round 3/3.86: Owen Schmitt, FB/H-back/TE., 62 250lbs., WVU
Round3/3.94: Kendall Langford, DT/DE. 66, 285lbs. Hampton.
Round 4/4.118:. Jordy Nelson, WR. 63 215lbs.. Kansas State.
Round 4/4.126: Mike Mc Glynn, OG/OT, 64 312lbs. Pitt
Round 5/5.150: Josh Barrett, S, 63 230lbs., Arizona State
Round 7/7.214: Xavier Lee, QB, 65 234lbs. FSU


As you can see, yes I wanted DL and OL, but it didn't happen. That's the way it goes. The FO made other choices. I accept that. Nothing I have any control over. The FO made their decisions. You can't argue with the success of the franchise over time and say they just do it in spite of the FO. The FO is all part of it.

As time goes on you can make more and more sense of the McHugh signing IF you want to, but you can never change it.

I have no problem saying for the record right now that McHugh will have a more positive impact this season than a cast off back up OL or DL who likely won't ever play. McHugh will dress and will play.

Shawn
09-04-2008, 10:32 AM
This pick up effects this season. While I would like for the Steelers to have picked up OL or DL depth I can understand the pick up. We now have 3 TEs that can catch. If we actually use 3 TE sets they can be VERY effective. Teams play the run and we have guys that can be fairly explosive in the passing game. I like 3 TE sets and it does add to diversity in our O this season. It seems the Steelers believe they can make a run at the SB this season. I would agree.

Oviedo
09-04-2008, 10:35 AM
This pick up effects this season. While I would like for the Steelers to have picked up OL or DL depth I can understand the pick up. We now have 3 TEs that can catch. If we actually use 3 TE sets they can be VERY effective. Teams play the run and we have guys that can be fairly explosive in the passing game. I like 3 TE sets and it does add to diversity in our O this season. It seems the Steelers believe they can make a run at the SB this season. I would agree.

With the players we have, I love 3 TE sets. Hopefully we see a lot of them. IMO they just offer so much flexibility.

Shawn
09-04-2008, 10:45 AM
This pick up effects this season. While I would like for the Steelers to have picked up OL or DL depth I can understand the pick up. We now have 3 TEs that can catch. If we actually use 3 TE sets they can be VERY effective. Teams play the run and we have guys that can be fairly explosive in the passing game. I like 3 TE sets and it does add to diversity in our O this season. It seems the Steelers believe they can make a run at the SB this season. I would agree.

With the players we have, I love 3 TE sets. Hopefully we see a lot of them. IMO they just offer so much flexibility.

Teams are tempted to place 8-9 guys in the box. Teams like to bring up safety help in these big sets. If you have TEs that can catch and go vertical...it can become a very explosive way to pass. It's also extremely effective to have big bodies that can catch in the red zone. Lets not forget this pick up also gives us a back up FB.

steelblood
09-04-2008, 10:50 AM
Steelblood P. Steelblood
Cincitucky Times Sun Press Gazette
September 3, 2008

Pittsburgh---

In an unusually frank mood, Kevin Colbert addressed the media regarding the acquistion of TE Sean McHugh. "He just fit what we were looking for perfectly. He is from the Lions, he likes eggs, and he was very cheap. We could have signed a player who would provide an immediate impact or one that could develop down the road. Instead, we opted to follow our time-tested formula. This morning I talked with Sean, and he reiterated that he indeed played with the Lions. I think this is the sort of mindset that makes players immediately successful. Coach Tomlin and I differ on some topics. He likes former Bucs and Vikings. I like Lions. He likes peanut butter. I like eggs. But, we both agree along with the entire Rooney family, that cheap players with limited upside are really neato. If you all will excuse me, I need to place a call to Tatum Bell."

Oviedo
09-04-2008, 10:51 AM
This pick up effects this season. While I would like for the Steelers to have picked up OL or DL depth I can understand the pick up. We now have 3 TEs that can catch. If we actually use 3 TE sets they can be VERY effective. Teams play the run and we have guys that can be fairly explosive in the passing game. I like 3 TE sets and it does add to diversity in our O this season. It seems the Steelers believe they can make a run at the SB this season. I would agree.

With the players we have, I love 3 TE sets. Hopefully we see a lot of them. IMO they just offer so much flexibility.

Teams are tempted to place 8-9 guys in the box. Teams like to bring up safety help in these big sets. If you have TEs that can catch and go vertical...it can become a very explosive way to pass. It's also extremely effective to have big bodies that can catch in the red zone. Lets not forget this pick up also gives us a back up FB.

I've been saying for the last 24 hours that McHugh has FB capability and the positional flexibility that Tomlin loves. When he gets the playbook down I could see Carey Davis possibly gone.

I also love having 3 TEs on the field when other teams crowd the box. Miller, Spaeth and McHugh all have the ability to force LBs and SS to turn and run with them. Once you worry about getting the LBs turning and running to cover a TE in a pattern that is where a RB breaks a big run into that space.

I also like the 3 TEs because it can be effective wearing down a defense just as much as a strong running game by taking safe 6-8 yard passes to the TEs and chipping our way all the way down the field. These short quick passes also neutralizes pass rushes because they can't get to Ben before the ball is gone and the OL benefits by not having to hold blocks as long.

Shawn
09-04-2008, 11:02 AM
This pick up effects this season. While I would like for the Steelers to have picked up OL or DL depth I can understand the pick up. We now have 3 TEs that can catch. If we actually use 3 TE sets they can be VERY effective. Teams play the run and we have guys that can be fairly explosive in the passing game. I like 3 TE sets and it does add to diversity in our O this season. It seems the Steelers believe they can make a run at the SB this season. I would agree.

With the players we have, I love 3 TE sets. Hopefully we see a lot of them. IMO they just offer so much flexibility.

Teams are tempted to place 8-9 guys in the box. Teams like to bring up safety help in these big sets. If you have TEs that can catch and go vertical...it can become a very explosive way to pass. It's also extremely effective to have big bodies that can catch in the red zone. Lets not forget this pick up also gives us a back up FB.

I've been saying for the last 24 hours that McHugh has FB capability and the positional flexibility that Tomlin loves. When he gets the playbook down I could see Carey Davis possibly gone.

I also love having 3 TEs on the field when other teams crowd the box. Miller, Spaeth and McHugh all have the ability to force LBs and SS to turn and run with them. Once you worry about getting the LBs turning and running to cover a TE in a pattern that is where a RB breaks a big run into that space.

I also like the 3 TEs because it can be effective wearing down a defense just as much as a strong running game by taking safe 6-8 yard passes to the TEs and chipping our way all the way down the field. These short quick passes also neutralizes pass rushes because they can't get to Ben before the ball is gone and the OL benefits by not having to hold blocks as long.

It will be nearly impossible to double down on Miller in these sets. It also keeps Ds in bigger sets making Lbs keep up with our TEs. These can and will produce big plays

costanza2k1
09-04-2008, 11:28 AM
Don't make me find more videos of this guy...I think this will work out. Hopefully after the season is over they attack the line in the draft as they have with our LB core.