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fordfixer
08-03-2010, 01:37 AM
Harris: Uncertainty at WR could boost TE
By John Harris, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 93128.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_693128.html)

You heard it here first: Heath Miller will play more like six-time Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates, and less like former Steelers blocking tight end Mark Bruener in 2010.

At least that's the plan.

With Hines Ward turning 34 a few months ago, Santonio Holmes traded to the New York Jets and Mike Wallace attempting to fill Holmes' cleats, it looks like the Steelers are finally going to turn their $35 million tight end loose and allow him to become more of a playmaker in the mold of San Diego's Gates, San Francisco's Vernon Davis and Indy's Dallas Clark.

"He can stretch the (defense) and do so many things utilizing him in that area of the field," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Monday concerning his new strategy of implementing Miller more as a downfield receiver during the opening days of training camp. "We have been working him split-out and motioning him and getting him involved, because he really is a third wide receiver.

"(Holmes), you tried to get him the ball. Hines, you get him the ball. Then it was Heath getting the ball. Now, he's No. 2 in my mind as far as, 'Hey, I've got to get this guy the ball.' "

Well, it's about time.

The Steelers are paying Miller, a six-year veteran, too much money to allow him to waste away as a blocker without taking advantage of his unique skill-set. He is talented at releasing from the line of scrimmage and getting open against a linebacker or even a nickel back.

Without question, Miller, with 244 career receptions, can catch. He latched on to a career-high 76 receptions for 789 yards and six touchdowns and played in his first Pro Bowl last season.

It's becoming obvious early in camp that Arians isn't content to continue targeting Miller with a steady diet of the kind of short passes that resulted in him averaging 10.4 yards per catch in 2009 (tied for eighth among tight ends).

If what Arians says holds true throughout the season and Miller indeed becomes the Steelers' true No. 2 option, he should create more big plays like his 16-yard touchdown reception from Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday against the starting defense.

"The safeties played out over top of the receivers, which left the middle open. Ben laid a great ball in there," said Miller, who broke wide open across the middle of the field.

"Sometimes, I can line up in the backfield. Sometimes, we can have two tight ends, and we can run the same pattern as if we (have) three (receivers). We have opportunities to do that in this offense. Probably more so on third down than the earlier downs. When we go with our empty (backfield) package, we're able to split out and work the field a little more that way."

Does that mean Miller could become another Gates, arguably the most dangerous playmaking tight end in NFL?

"I wouldn't go that far, because (Gates) is really a wide receiver. He's very seldom ever blocking," Arians said. "Heath is still going to be a blocking tight end the majority of the time in some sets. Being able to move him everywhere presents different problems for the defense.

"Mike (Wallace) is emerging he might take (Miller's) spot. There's times when there's not enough balls for everybody. But it's a nice problem to have."

There are no worries for Miller about his individual numbers. He doesn't focus on making big plays, because that's not what the Steelers have expected from their tight ends in previous seasons.

This season is different.

Miller is much too talented, and the Steelers have legitimate concerns about their passing attack that include Roethlisberger missing at least the first four games and Wallace still working to become comfortable as Holmes' replacement.

On the other hand, Arians knows what to expect from Miller, who has 26 career receptions of 20 yards or more.

"You do more for Heath and Hines. They've got their packages, and the rest of the guys feed off it," Arians said. "We've had it, we just have never used much of it."

Until now.

hawaiiansteel
08-03-2010, 02:04 AM
it's Miller Time, not to mention about freakin' time... :roll:

ANPSTEEL
08-03-2010, 10:41 AM
I find this disturbing...


"Sometimes, I can line up in the backfield. Sometimes, we can have two tight ends, and we can run the same pattern as if we (have) three (receivers). We have opportunities to do that in this offense. Probably more so on third down than the earlier downs. When we go with our empty (backfield) package, we're able to split out and work the field a little more that way."


oh no

:facepalm

Wallace108
08-03-2010, 11:35 AM
I'm not sure about this. For our offense and the talent we have, I think Miller has been used perfectly. The Chargers and Chiefs had to rely on Gates and Gonzalez over the years because, quite frankly, they were the best receivers on their teams. And the Colts are a pass-first team, so Clark is essentially another receiver.

I could be wrong, but I don't see how making Miller the Number 2 option is going to help our running game, which they were supposed to be focusing on more this year.

Oviedo
08-03-2010, 11:56 AM
Using the TE (and RBs) even more than last year is music to my ears...if it happens. If we can just resist the temptation to force balls down the field, we have the talent to run an effective short- to mid-range passing game that will control the clock and wear down a defense.

That is exactly what teams did to us last year. Hope we learned something.

SteelHoss
08-03-2010, 12:27 PM
IMO Miller's play making ability has long been ignored. Simply put, he can play. Blocking, catching, being the go to guy in clutch situations has been his MO since he's been a Pittsburgh Steeler. Its time for him to shine like the pro-bowler he was last year, the pro-bowler he'll be this season and hopefully seasons to come. Go Heath! Time to rock! :tt2 :tt2 :tt2 :tt2

SteelHoss
08-03-2010, 12:33 PM
Using the TE (and RBs) even more than last year is music to my ears...if it happens. If we can just resist the temptation to force balls down the field, we have the talent to run an effective short- to mid-range passing game that will control the clock and wear down a defense.

That is exactly what teams did to us last year. Hope we learned something.

I totally agree. Additionally, it should put more points on the board! Total war I say. Sherman's march thru the NFL! :Beer

CanadianSteel
08-03-2010, 12:50 PM
PLEASE say it is so!!!

Even his rookie year i have been saying "Pass it to Miller" The guy is a machine. I'm not saying it has to be 15 yard patterns, even a 5 yard hook can turn into a 1st down with this guy. He reminds me of the Aaron Smith of the offensive side of the ball. Don't say much but man the guy is a beast and gets the job done!!!

Miller Time!!! :tt1

Slapstick
08-04-2010, 04:34 PM
I'm not sure about this. For our offense and the talent we have, I think Miller has been used perfectly. The Chargers and Chiefs had to rely on Gates and Gonzalez over the years because, quite frankly, they were the best receivers on their teams. And the Colts are a pass-first team, so Clark is essentially another receiver.

I could be wrong, but I don't see how making Miller the Number 2 option is going to help our running game, which they were supposed to be focusing on more this year.

In my opinion, the offense should be all about getting the ball into the hands of your best players...

Heath Miller has proven that he is one of the Steelers' best players...

Simple...

Oviedo
08-04-2010, 04:47 PM
I'm not sure about this. For our offense and the talent we have, I think Miller has been used perfectly. The Chargers and Chiefs had to rely on Gates and Gonzalez over the years because, quite frankly, they were the best receivers on their teams. And the Colts are a pass-first team, so Clark is essentially another receiver.

I could be wrong, but I don't see how making Miller the Number 2 option is going to help our running game, which they were supposed to be focusing on more this year.

In my opinion, the offense should be all about getting the ball into the hands of your best players...

Heath Miller has proven that he is one of the Steelers' best players...

Simple...

I'd like to see Heath get close to 100 catches this season. Add about 40 catches to Mendy and I think we will be great on offense.

hawaiiansteel
08-04-2010, 05:50 PM
I'm not sure about this. For our offense and the talent we have, I think Miller has been used perfectly. The Chargers and Chiefs had to rely on Gates and Gonzalez over the years because, quite frankly, they were the best receivers on their teams. And the Colts are a pass-first team, so Clark is essentially another receiver.

I could be wrong, but I don't see how making Miller the Number 2 option is going to help our running game, which they were supposed to be focusing on more this year.

In my opinion, the offense should be all about getting the ball into the hands of your best players...

Heath Miller has proven that he is one of the Steelers' best players...

Simple...

I'd like to see Heath get close to 100 catches this season. Add about 40 catches to Mendy and I think we will be great on offense.


I would love to see Heath catch his # -

http://www.mkrob.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/heath-miller.jpg

RuthlessBurgher
08-04-2010, 08:50 PM
I would love to see Heath catch his #

I'd be fine with Heath catching 83 passes, Hines catching 86 passes, Mendenhall catching 34 passes, and Wallace averaging 17 yards per catch (sure, it's down a bit from his league-leading 19.4 ypc, but 17 ypc would still have been top 5 in the league among guys with 30+ receptions last season).