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fordfixer
01-30-2009, 01:40 AM
Low-profile Steelers TE Miller can't be overlooked

By Dan Arkush
Jan. 28, 2009

http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/Fe ... 12809a.htm (http://www.profootballweekly.com/PFW/Features/Super+Bowl/2008/arkush012809a.htm)

TAMPA, Fla. — Heath Miller wasn’t attracting much attention in the national media’s Wednesday interviews with the Steelers at the University of South Florida. Pittsburgh’s unassuming starting tight end sat quietly at a table mostly by himself, while higher-profile teammates like Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu were kept busy answering question after question.

But come Super Sunday, it will hardly be a surprise if the former first-round draft pick’s number isn’t called more than a little.

“I think with the offense we run, it’s possible that anybody’s number will be called,” Pittsburgh TE coach James Daniel said. “Heath has made plays in every one of our playoff wins so far, and I think he’ll make plays in this game. The coverage will dictate a lot of what we end up doing, but I anticipate him being a factor.”

Miller was a factor in the Steelers’ 35-24 divisional playoff victory over the Chargers, catching three passes for 37 yards, including an eight-yard TD pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the third quarter that gave the Steelers a 21-10 lead. One week later in the hard-hitting AFC championship win over the Ravens, he made his presence felt with three catches for 62 yards, including a long of 30 yards.

Making it even more likely that Miller could be in the thick of the action on Super Sunday is the considerable success Eagles TE Brent Celek had against Arizona’s defense in the Cardinals’ NFC championship win over the Eagles, as Celek caught 10 passes for 83 yards and two touchdowns.

“There will be some opportunities,” Miller said. “I don’t expect to have 15 catches, but as an offense, if we’re efficient and spread the ball around and everyone makes their plays when we get the opportunity to, we’ll be OK.”

But even if he doesn’t make a single catch, the odds are strong that Miller will throw a key block or two at some point in the game.

"He’s a guy who’s got great talent,” Daniel said. “He gets the maximum out of that talent, and that puts him in an elite category as far as tight ends go in this league. Most of the tight ends that get talked about just catch the football. But Heath is as good a blocker as he is a receiver.

“He’s a complete tight end, and there aren’t too many guys like that playing his position in the NFL. He has a great work ethic on and off the field, and he will always give you the best he’s got, which makes him very rare.”

Miller has spent a fair amount of time off the field lately studying Cardinals Pro Bowl hybrid SS Adrian Wilson, the Arizona defender he’s most likely to meet up with on Super Sunday.

“He’s a big safety who tackles as well as any linebacker that I’ve seen,” said Miller of Wilson, Arizona’s longest-tenured player. “He doesn’t miss too many tackles. When he switches to linebacker, at least you know where he’s going to line up. But as a safety, you never know whether he’ll be in the box or on the perimeter. That’s what makes him so hard to account for. You ask the receiver on the right side to block him, and then he comes down the left side. That’s why he’s so dangerous.”

Added Daniel: “He (Wilson) is a great football player. There are a lot of safeties out there right now who can have a big impact on a ballgame. And Adrian Wilson is one of those guys. In our division, you have Ed Reed and our own Troy Polomalu. He’s the same type of player. You know you have to account for him in everything you do in both the running game and passing game.”

buckeyehoppy
01-30-2009, 02:24 AM
I'm looking for Heath to have a big game in The Big Game. Every time the Steelers face off with a team that has strength at the safety position, it's almost like an invitation to Heath to have a big performance...and he typically delivers.

Djfan
01-30-2009, 02:35 AM
He is one of my favorite Steelers currently, and if he keeps things going like he has he might well end up on my top five of all time.

He is B&G through and through. VERY glad to have him here.

Lonbull
01-30-2009, 04:33 PM
The thing I admire most about Heath Miller is that he really hustles on every play. He's the kind of guy that eventually will come up with a weird (Immaculate Reception kind of) play just because he forces himself to be around the ball.

Just look how far down the field Heath gets on this Touchdown compared to everyone else.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HwK-L7trU50

Despite the fact that he isn't the greatest receiving threat at Tight End...he's certainly a foundation block for this Steelers Team.

C'mon Big Money!

L.B.