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Thread: The Steelers and Heath Miller

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  1. #1
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    The Steelers and Heath Miller

    Throughout the majority of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's NFL career, he's had TE Heath Miller on the field as his proverbial safety blanket -- many of Roethlisberger's classic drives would not have been possible without Miller on the receiving end of those passes. But as we look ahead to the 2013 campaign, it's become a real possibility that the Steelers will have to begin the season without Miller on the field, as he tore his ACL, MCL and PCL in Week 16 of 2012.

    According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "no one in the organization" knows when the Steelers will get No. 83 back on the field. If he's not able to play by Week 1, the Steelers have some options for replacing him in the lineup: veteran Matt Spaeth, second-year pro David Paulson or David Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first preseason game of 2012.

    In the opinion of ESPN AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley, finding a suitable fill-in for Miller stands out as the Steelers' biggest offseason regret:

    Jamison Hensley Offseason regrets in the AFC North "Some have speculated that the Steelers' ignoring of the tight end position this offseason is a sign the team expects Miller to be ready for the start of the season. Miller, who had a resurgence in Todd Haley's first season as offensive coordinator, tore knee ligaments late in the season and had surgery Jan. 2. The last word on Miller came in late May, when there was a report he was running 100-yard sprints. Still, it's unknown whether Miller will be suiting up for the Sept. 8 opener against the Tennessee Titans. The Steelers have put themselves in a predicament if Miller is sidelined for an extended period. The Steelers signed Matt Spaeth in free agency, but he's a run-blocking tight end. He has averaged eight catches per season. The only other tight end with any experience is David Paulson, who had seven catches last season as a rookie. This combination isn't going to replace Miller's 71 catches and eight touchdowns from a season ago."

    www.espn.com/insider

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    I don't think Miller's resurgence had anything to do with Haley's offense. IMHO, it had to do with Hines Ward retiring. I always thought Heath could have had a HOF career if he didn't have to play on the same team as Hines Ward got a lot of balls that would typically go to a TE.

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    I thought we still had David Johnson??? Before Stupid Gilbert fell on his knee, it appeared
    to me that he was becoming a threat from the TE, HB, and FB positions...maybe I'm wrong, but
    I don't think so. Although I do realize that DJ is NOT Heath, we will be fine. My gut says that
    Heath will be there Sept 8th!!!

    JD
    The Pittsburgh Steelers: There is NO other Team!

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    Quote Originally Posted by flippy View Post
    I don't think Miller's resurgence had anything to do with Haley's offense. IMHO, it had to do with Hines Ward retiring. I always thought Heath could have had a HOF career if he didn't have to play on the same team as Hines Ward got a lot of balls that would typically go to a TE.
    Just curious. Do you think we would have been better served throwing a lot of those balls to Heath instead of Hines?

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    Wonder if they are high on Paulson catching and Spaeth blocking. Dallas Clark is available. He may be a band aid to catch balls until Heath is ready.

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    I think Paulson is going to be the real deal, just not sure he is ready for the full time gig just yet.

  7. #7
    Throughout the majority of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's NFL career, he's had TE Heath Miller on the field as his proverbial safety blanket -- many of Roethlisberger's classic drives would not have been possible without Miller on the receiving end of those passes.
    To me this is a horrible characterization of what Heath has been. This sounds more like Jay Novacek. If I were to describe Heath, I would say that throughout most of his career he has been consistent, healthy (missed 5 games in 8 years), under-utilized as a receiver, a very effective blocker, and great hands. In his eight year career he has averaged under 600 yards a season, surpassing that total only three times. His 816 yards and 8 TDs were both career highs last season, that is not a resurgence as the "re" at the beginning of the word implies that his numbers have returned to their former heights, when they instead surpassed anything that he has previously done.

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    Steelers tight ends on road to recovery heading into season

    By Ralph N. Paulk
    Published: Sunday, July 21, 2013



    Statistics of Steelers' tight ends last season:

    Player Rec. TDs

    Heath Miller 71 8

    Will Johnson 15 0

    David Paulson 7 0

    Leonard Pope 3 2

    The Steelers will arrive at training camp at Saint Vincent College on Friday facing uncertainty at several positions, and chief among them is tight end.

    No one within the organization knows when Heath Miller will be prepared to play this season. Miller, who led the Steelers with 71 receptions last season, tore his ACL, MCL and PCL. He is still mending from reconstructive surgery.

    If Miller isn't ready for the season opener against Tennessee at Heinz Field on Sept. 8, then either Matt Spaeth — in his second tour of duty with the Steelers — or second-year tight end David Paulson is expected to fill in until Miller recovers.

    David Johnson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in the first quarter of the preseason opener at Philadelphia last season, is another question mark. He began last season as the starting H-back, but offensive coordinator Todd Haley figured he would play a more significant role in the passing game.

    With Johnson out and wide receiver Mike Wallace easing his way into a new offense after a contract dispute, Miller became quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's go-to target, particularly during the first half of the season. Ultimately, Miller became the first tight end to lead the team in receptions in 46 years.

    The absence of Wallace and Miller leaves an apparent hole in an offense that struggled mightily down the stretch in 2012. The tight ends accounted for 96 of 354 receptions and amassed 11 touchdowns, but were largely ineffective during the team's failed bid to advance to the AFC playoffs.

    “We're not out here trying to get ready for a game tomorrow,” Roethlisberger said during the OTAs. “We're just out here learning and getting better.'

    So far, Johnson is getting better — albeit slowly. But there remains doubt about how much progress Miller has made the past several months. And Paulson was slowed some during minicamp with a couple of nagging injuries.

    “I'm about 85 to 90 percent. It continues to get better and better each day,” Johnson said. “I'm coming out to work in hopes of getting the feel back.

    “Every day, something knew comes back to normal. It's all I'm focusing on and keeping it together mentally. It's not perfect, but things are coming back.”

    For all the questions, second-year veteran Will Johnson appears to be the answer at H-back. He seemingly has a grip on a starting position, in part, because David Johnson isn't quite where he needs to be physically.

    The injuries could force Haley to redefine the role of his tight ends. David Johnson is simply hoping to fit in anywhere after sitting out the entire 2012 season.

    “We all are trying to find out what the coaches needs us to do,” Johnson said. “It could be we'll do a few things differently this year. We have to find the best player for the job and every situation.

    “Sure, we need to know where we fit. Then, we have to buckle down and compete for it.”

    At this point, Johnson will settle for having the chance to compete for a roster spot. He spent part of last year stressing over the possibility of having suffered an injury that jeopardized his career — an injury similar, if not exactly like Miller's.

    “It was tough, because I was really looking forward to last year,” Johnson said. “I probably never worked that hard my entire life. I was physically and mentally prepared. I was crushed because I couldn't play when my team needed me.

    “I really wanted to be out there playing. It was first time in my career that was sitting on the couch watching my team play.”

    David Johnson and Miller have consulted often during the offseason. Johnson knows just how hard the road to recovery will be for Miller.

    “We always share things about getting healthy,” Johnson said. “Heath and I talk quite a bit because we have the exact same injury. So, we share things about what we're doing as far as rehab goes.

    “I'm giving him suggestions because I'm further along in the healing process than he, so I'm telling him things and he's sharing things with me. It's been very helpful for both us. I do believe it'll make a difference in us making it back to play at 100 percent this season.”

    “We all know that injuries are part of the game, but that doesn't make any easier to accept,” he added. “I can't think about what it takes to be successful, especially if I'm concerned about getting injured. You can only limit yourself by thinking about getting hurt.”

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz2Zt9R6DfQ

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