Steelers’ Ward, Holmes And Who Else?
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|Wednesday, August 22, 2007
By Paul Eide
Steelers Fever Columnist
If Bruce Arians offense is going to effectively take flight the Steelers need a receiver to step up and assert himself as the #3 wide out. The offense to this point has not been the aerial assault that many expected, instead adopting a more prudent, game management style approach to the passing game, averaging just 13.6 points per game through three preseason games.
Though it is well known that coaches don’t reveal too much of their game plan in the preseason, the amount of scoring the first string offense has produced has been disappointing, largely because of inconsistency from any receiver not names Ward or Holmes.
With the starters playing the entire first half versus the Redskins last week the offense mustered only a field goal against what was one of the worst defenses in the NFL in 2006. In the previous week against the Packers, the first string offense again went without scoring a touchdown and hasn’t found pay dirt since Najeh Davenport’s four yard TD run versus the Saints in the Hall of Fame game. The offensive line has taken some blame, but more than anything the timing between quarterbacks and receivers looks off. Of the receivers in camp, here are the four front runners vying for increased playing time as the #3 wide out:
“There’s no doubt that Nate’s got all the speed and quickness and athleticism it takes,” offensive coordinator Arians said recently, “It’s just a matter of concentration and confidence. I think he’ll be fine during the regular season. He should be over that now.”
Arians must have a short memory to forget about Washington’s two drops in the first quarter versus the Saints. Since then he has accumulated six catches for 75 yards in three preseason games.
“I can’t help if the quarterback doesn’t throw me the ball,” said Wilson, the starting split end last season. “I’m running my routes, I’m doing the right things. You can’t help if the quarterback doesn’t throw you the ball.”
“He’s on the brink,” Tomlin said about Young. “You love guys that are fighting, particularly a guy like him who has been close a couple of times, played a little ball in this league and is looking for a breakthrough.”
“He was a running back coming out of high school and worked his way into receiver,” Arians said. “He’s a little bit of a project, that part of it. He’s ready to play there, I think. He’s got excellent hands, big-time speed and he’s a great run-after-the-catch guy with his return ability.”