That is an interesting question. They can certainly put Heath Miller on the PUP list for the first 6 weeks of the season and I believe that they should, and will, do so. I don't think that DJ practiced, so they can likely do the same with him.
Originally Posted by Gus
On Spaeth, I don't think it is worth it to designate him as the IR guy that can return. I think his return is likely questionable anyway, and if somebody more important than the #2 TE suffers an injury early, I would prefer the spot go to that guy.
Despite numerous injuries at position, tight ends still expected to perform for Steel
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Sunday, August 11, 2013
A newly constructed sign bearing the Mike Tomlin-minted motto “The Standard ... Is the Standard” is posted near the entrance of the Steelers' locker room for everybody to see and, the coach hopes, believe.
Even so, when it comes to Steelers' tight ends, Tomlin may be starting to question the validity of his catchphrase — and for good reason.
• Heath Miller is on the physically unable to perform list, and the date of his return from December knee surgery is unknown.
• Matt Spaeth, who was supposed to pick up some of the slack until Miller's return, is out at least a couple of months after having foot surgery Saturday.
• David Johnson had cleanup knee surgery two weeks ago on the surgically repaired knee that kept him out all of last year and remains on the PUP list.
• Jamie McCoy, who's been on the Steelers' practice squad for three years, has a sore right wrist that kept him out of Saturday's 18-13 preseason loss to the Giants.
That leaves the position in the hands of David Paulson, Michael Palmer, Nathan Overbay and Peter Tuitupou for the foreseeable future.
“It must be something we are drinking in the room or something,” McCoy said. “It seems like every week somebody has a nagging injury or something.”
But, as the sign says, the standard is the standard, and for the Steelers, that standard is Miller: 71 catches, 8 touchdowns, the franchise quarterback's favorite target and the reigning team MVP.
“I'm not going to discount the guys that are working,” Tomlin said. “We'll continue to work with those guys. Obviously, we've got some guys down at the position that we need to get back, and we will when they're healthy. Meanwhile, we're focusing on the ones that are working and making sure they have the mentality that's geared toward improvement on a daily basis.”
Tomlin's words lend support to what they already have.
His actions speak much differently.
The Steelers added three tight ends within a span of just over a week, including two in one day, and continue to scour the waiver market.
Tomlin was so cognizant of not risking any more injuries to the position that he decided to sit McCoy and instead allowed a tight end the team picked up 36 hours prior — Palmer — to start, play more than a dozen snaps and help protect quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
“We were kind of laughing about it on the field because I had the playbook for about 36 hours,” Palmer said. “I have enough experience that I know how to play the game. It is just more of putting me in the right position and the right spots.”
Right now, the choices are limited.
Paulson is penciled in as the starter but has only 316 snaps and seven receptions on his resume. Palmer played three years for the Falcons but averaged only 13 snaps per game.
To put that into perspective, Miller missed only 10 snaps last year before tearing his ACL late in a Week 16 game against Cincinnati.
The uncertainty at the position has become an issue for an offense that likes to use its tight ends in a variety of ways.
“It's been tough to keep bringing in new guys that are not familiar with the offense, but that is the game of football,” backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski said. “You are going to have injuries, and the next guy has to step up. We have talented tight ends here, and I'm real confident in them.”
After all, the standard is the standard.
Ed: Dallas Clark Not What Steelers Needed
Originally Posted by steelz09
MONDAY, 12 AUGUST 2013 WRITTEN BY ED BOUCHETTE
Should the Steelers have tried to sign tight end Dallas Clark?
With three of their top four tight ends out with injuries, the Steelers are hurting at the position. Only David Paulson, a rookie who contributed as the No. 2 tight end behind Heath Miller in 2012, is left standing.
Clark, 34, caught 47 passes for 435 yards with Tampa Bay last season. The Ravens lost tight end Dennis Pitta for the season with a hip injury and another tight end, Ed Dickson, has been out with a hamstring injury.
Clark has been a free agent with all 32 teams passing on the chance to sign him until Baltimore made its move Sunday.
So why weren’t the Steelers interested in Clark, at least enough to get in on the bidding?
Because, they don’t need another wide receiver, and that is what Clark is, no matter what they want to call him. He doesn’t block, not like a tight end anyway. The Steelers don’t need a 34-year-old wide receiver who calls himself a tight end. That’s not how they use their tight ends. If you are a tight end and want to play in Pittsburgh, you have to be able to block, No. 1.
They believe they have some of those, including Paulson and Jamie McCoy. David Johnson could be closer than any of them to returning to practice. His ACL was torn in the preseason last year compared to Heath Miller’s three-ligament tear in the 15th game of the season.
Of course, that has not stopped the Twitter world from ripping the Steelers for not signing Clark. It’s the big-name syndrome. In this case, however, they’d be better off bringing Mark Bruener out of the bullpen that is their scouting department and putting him to work.
--- YOU: Do you think both Miller & Johnson start the season on the PUP list? If so, is the 3rd TE worth keeping on the 53 man roster?
ME: Heath Miller probably will open the season on PUP. I’m not sure about David Johnson. No, I would not keep three tight ends, I would keep an extra tackle and they could use a tackle when they needed a tight end, such as in goalline and short yardage. Kelvin Beachum is the perfect candidate for that, if he does not start.
Gerry: Don't expect Steelers to sign experienced TE
MONDAY, 12 AUGUST 2013 WRITTEN BY HENRY GORMAN
When the Baltimore Ravens signed veteran Dallas Clark Sunday to help their tight end position, a large groan likely emanated from people who hoped the Steelers would do the same thing to replenish their injury-depleted position.
But it appears the Steelers don't have any such plans to sign a veteran tight end.
The recent spate of injuries at the position has left the Steelers with David Paulson as their No. 1 tight end, and that is not about to change anytime soon.
The Steelers are not planning to add a tight end other than players such as Michael Palmer and Nathan Overbay to their roster because they plan on getting Heath Miller, Matt Spaeth and David Johnson back at various points this season.
Miller remains on the physically unable to perform list after having offseason surgery to repair several ligament tears in his knee, including the anterior cruciate ligament. The Steelers have not set a timetable for his return, but he appears to be on a schedule similar to the one Rashard Mendenhall was on last year when he came back from offseason ACL surgery.
Matt Spaeth, reacquired in free agency to be Miller’s backup, had surgery Monday to repair a Lisfranc sprain in his foot – an injury that will sideline him at least eight to 10 weeks.
And No. 3 David Johnson, who missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in training camp, is also on the PUP list after having arthroscopic surgery less than two weeks ago to clean up some cartilage.
Johnson, though, said he expects to return soon and hopes to play in one of the preseason games.
If all goes according to plan, the Steelers will take Miller off the PUP list before the start of the regular season and have him practice for at least three weeks before activating him and letting him play in a game. If they do not take him off the PUP list before they finalize their 53-man roster, Miller cannot return until the seventh week of the season.
The Steelers did that last year with Mendenhall. They took him off the PUP list in training camp but he didn’t play until the fourth game against the Eagles. He also had a bye week in between.
This year, the Steelers bye comes the week after their fourth game in London against the Minnesota Vikings. So it is conceivable Miller will return at least by the Oct. 13 game against the New York Jets, if all goes well.
Maybe they look in the 1st round of cuts 8/27 if more injuries occur or a timetable for Spaeth or Miller is pushed forward. I think they will take a long hard look at what they have. Already have a target for the 2014 draft and it would have to be at the TE position IMO. Give me Colt Lyerla or Austin Seferian-Jenkins and I think the offense is set for until the end of BB career.
I'm not real concerned about the position. Paulson and Johnson have looked in camp. In goal line or short yardage, just use Beachum as an extra blocker. I'd even take a look at Nick Williams to see what he could do in a pinch. He's got the size and athleticism and looks the part of the basketball player turned TE project.
I think the 11 personnel is going to be the most used given the way Wheaton looks. If Bell prefers a lead blocker, we'd be fine with 21.
If you can get him out of his new radio gig he might be interested. Just last week he was asked what it would have taken to play for the skins last year. Cooley says he would have taken the vet minimum AND played special teams not to get cut. He's 31. Bet he has a couple years left in him. Not a far drive over from DC.
Originally Posted by Chadman
I still think Mccoy is a Joke. And Johnson is not a TE that will assist us in the passing game. With the Lions, who Colbert obviously has a History with....they have two CEMENTED TE's in Tony Scheffier, and Brandon Pettigrew, as well as Shaun Chapas and their 7th rounder this draft from Alabama, Michael Williams. And this TE is someone I thought the Steelers should have taken in the 7th round. Yes he is not a great Athlete. But, he is every bit as Athletic as Zach Ertz was at Stanford, and a BETTER Flat out TE. I HOPE if Detroit cuts this guy, we jump on him faster then Lindsey Lohan jumps on a bottle of Makers Mark Whiskey!!