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Thread: Where will Heath Miller fit, in the passing game in 2011?

          
   
   
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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Where will Heath Miller fit, in the passing game in 2011?

    Interesting article about how valuable Heath Miller is to the Steelers offense, and where he ranks all time on the team. His pro bowl year in 2009 was before Sanders and Brown were on the team and in the rookie year of Mike Wallace. One wonders how Arians will utilize Miller now but his production could potentially decrease depending on how wide open the passing game is this year. Heath is such a valuable target, it's imperative that the Steelers find ways to keep him in the game even amongst so much talent at WR.

    Heath isn't selfish fortunately and accepts his role on the team. If I'm Arians, I still use Heath down the middle and A LOT more in the endzone.

    The essence of Heath Miller could be seen in an unremarkable scene Wednesday in the Steelers' locker room.

    Miller had been trying to downplay something receiver Hines Ward said about his work ethic, though the veteran tight end conceded he usually arrives at Steelers headquarters at 6:30 a.m.

    A couple of minutes later, Miller called a reporter back over. By the time he got to the weight room that morning, Miller said, outside linebacker James Harrison already was drenched in sweat.

    It was Miller's way of deflecting attention, and he went out of his way to do it.
    Miller may be averse to calling attention to himself, but the Steelers know better when it comes to one of the best tight ends in franchise history.
    His teammates voted him an offensive co-captain in 2010 because of how hard, if quietly, he works. And Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians has long said Miller's value is at least a fly pattern beyond the statistics he posts.
    When told Miller ranks 13th among tight ends in a poll of the NFL's top 200 players by Scouts Inc., Arians chuckled.

    "I think he's the best pure tight end in the league," Arians said. "Most of those guys are not tight ends; they're wide receivers. They don't block anybody. They can't block anybody."

    The 6-foot-5, 256-pound Miller is a proven blocker, and he has caught enough passes to rank second in receiving yards (3,233) for a tight end in franchise history.
    Miller's production dipped last season after he caught a career-high 76 passes in 2009 and made the Pro Bowl. The absence of starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the first four games didn't help. And Miller missed two games near the end of the season after getting knocked out of the Ravens game with a concussion.
    Miller may find it difficult to improve significantly on the 42 receptions he made last season even if he plays every game. The Steelers have what Arians calls the best receiving corps since he joined the team in 2004.

    He said he will use some five wide receiver sets — and admitted that it could be a delicate balance keeping everybody happy.

    "That's the key with our offense now: You cannot get selfish," Arians said "As long as everybody stays with that, and contracts don't get in the way, we could be pretty solid. The minute selfishness creeps in, it can tear you down real quick."
    Arians doesn't have to worry about that when it comes to Miller, who never badgers Roethlisberger about being open or getting him the ball.

    "I understand how hard Ben's job is as a quarterback," Miller said. "If Ben asks me if I was open and I was, I'll tell him. If he asks me if I was covered and I was covered, I'm going to tell him I was covered. He's looking for honest feedback, and I think if everyone gives him that, it makes his job a little bit easier."
    That is quintessential Miller.

    "Not a showboat, just straps his helmet and goes about his business," Ward said. "That's what you love about him. I thought I come in early, but he's already here in the shower by the time I get here. He's probably one of the first ones in the building and the last ones to leave."

    That work ethic is one why Miller has missed just four games in six seasons. Naturally, he shrugs off all that he puts into football away from the field.
    "I've come to realize what I need to have to continue doing to be effective as a player, not only at the (beginning) of the season but at the end of the season," Miller said. "I get my work in, and I know that's going to pay off week 13 or 14 or 15."
    Last edited by BlitzburghRockCity; 08-25-2011 at 09:46 PM.

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I swear you could throw him the ball in the endzone 100 times and he'll come down with it 99 of them. I drives me up a wall to see them not just toss it to him every time they get the chance. He is so under utilized it's not funny. That's life though in the Steelers offense, the TE, no matter how good they are is always underutilized in the passing game.

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    I wish they'd use him more. Hes tough and has great hands. Most underrated TE in the NFL.

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    I am pretty great. Rampage's Avatar
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    Woah woah woah. A sure handed receiver who can be used a ton in the intermediate passing game? Screw that.

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    Head Coach LatrobePA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rampage View Post
    Woah woah woah. A sure handed receiver who can be used a ton in the intermediate passing game? Screw that.
    BA would rather throw bubble screens to Hines (the slowest WR on the roster)..
    "Happy Happy Happy"

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    We can't have that Rampage, there's no way they should use a Tight End who can catch and block, sorry just not possible dude LOL.

    I'd be shocked if he even sniffed 50 receptions in 2011, but still very happy if he does. I would hope and wish he'd have 60-70 catches again. That means he's being used more like he should, more like he was in 2009. If you take out that year when he had 76 catches, he averages about 42 per year.

    If they would use him to his full capabilities he would be unstoppable; every bit as good as Gonzalez was, Gates, or Dallas Clarke.
    Last edited by BlitzburghRockCity; 08-25-2011 at 06:52 PM.

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    Since BA became OC we've been shouting for Heath to be used more in the passing game, and it hasn't happened yet. I'd be shocked if it happened this season, especially with all the new talent at WR that we have.

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    SA's #1 Pirates Fan Tetris Champion Black@Gold Forever32's Avatar
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    Miller had 76 catches in 2009 with BA as OC......Problem is there is so many weapons on this team now that somebody is going to be left out at times.....I don't think Miller is on bar with Gates or Clark....He doesn't have the speed like those guys who are freaks really at TE....But Miller is a damn good TE and I bet he does have 50+ catches this year to go with 5-7 TD's....I think the Steelers will be more of passing team this year and Miller will have a role.....There will be games were you need a TE to beat certain defenses......

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    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I think that's where Miller will see his production go down alittle, just because there are so many weapons now and only so many balls to go around. I'm sure Arians will call the patented play down the middle where Heath is effective and also that roll out where Ben hits Miller in the flat. Either way he will get his chances but I wish they'd really open him up and really use him how he could be.

    I honestly think he could be on par with Gates and Clark, maybe not from a speed standpoint, but his hands are as good as either of them. We just don't get to see it.

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    2nd String STEELyourface's Avatar
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    I watched Heath play in college in a bowl game vs WVU and he lit us up ALL DAY! He was catching everything thrown in his direction and blowing up people when blocking. I turned to my buddy and said, "I know this is a long shot but if that dude could be a Steeler...." Watching him play then he was already a Steeler, you know, from the toughness, blue collar standpoint. I think he found us as much or more than we found him- he was just destined to be a Steeler.

    Anyways, ya he'll get underutilized I'm sure but one thing I was thinking with a lot of attention going to those young fast guys maybe the intermediate and underneath stuff will be so glaringly cleared out he will get more catches?? Probably not, I was just trying to look at it a different way....

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