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  1. #1
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Steelers TE Miller attempts to boost offense

    The role of an NFL tight end continues to evolve, as increasingly complex offenses demand a more versatile athlete with equally adept blocking skills and pass-catching abilities.

    There are few Kellen Winslows — gifted tight ends with remarkable hands and run-blocking skills. There are fewer John Mackeys — strong, fast tight ends who bore through defenders without flinching.

    Heath Miller, the Steelers' steady yet hardly flashy tight end, is neither Winslow nor Mackey. But he is reliable and efficient. Miller, said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, "is my comfort blanket."

    The Steelers were comfortable and confident with Miller when they inked him to a five-year deal worth $35.3 million in 2009, making him among the highest-paid players at the position.

    Even though the Steelers are 2-1 heading into their Sunday matchup with the Houston Texans (2-1) at Reliant Stadium, their running game is stuck in neutral. Most fingers are pointing at a dysfunctional offensive line, but Miller is feeling the heat, too.
    "Our (tight ends) group takes a lot of pride in being able to do both blocking and catching," said Miller, who caught five of the six passes thrown to him in a 23-20 win at Indianapolis last week. "We need to do both for us to be productive offensively.
    "We understand we've got to get better running the ball. Fortunately for us, it's early in the season."

    Miller admits he must do more to impact an uneven offense — one that faltered at Baltimore but stampeded the Seattle Seahawks.
    Miller was most effective in the middle of the field in Indianapolis. But his most productive game of the season was overshadowed by a ground game that was embarrassingly inefficient in averaging 2.4 yards per carry.

    The Texans, led by outside linebacker Mario Williams, are expected to jam the line of scrimmage and dare the Steelers to beat them deep with receivers Antonio Brown and Mike Wallace, who had an 81-yard touchdown reception against the Colts.
    "(Wallace) is such a playmaker, so it gives them opportunities to make plays, and that's what they've been doing," said Houston coach Gary Kubiak. "Yet, I think we all know they can line up any given day and just run it right at you."

    If the Steelers insist on pounding the ball down the Texans throat, Heath Miller and fellow tight end David Johnson must step up. The Steelers have used both sparingly as H-backs, but that could change because the offensive line isn't getting the surge required to create seams for Mendenhall and Isaac Redman to run through.
    "When you have a tight end who can play fullback ... it just gives you so much of an advantage against a defensive signal caller," said Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

    Arians insisted Miller is among the "true tight ends" in the league and added there "are few Heath Millers."

    However, Miller's role is somewhat ambiguous. Roethlisberger practically ignored him the first two games before rekindling their connection at Indianapolis.
    "Heath has been the go-to guy over the years," Roethlisberger said. "He's a guy you can always count on.

    "We always want to keep (Miller) involved because the tight ends are huge for this offense. Houston has a good defense, so the tight ends and the offensive line have to do a good job."

    "There are a lot of guys capable of making plays," Miller said. "However it shakes out, we'll be able to move the ball."

  2. #2
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    Heath may feel the need to step up his game, which is great, but he's hardly the problem that stopping the running game from getting in gear. All of us would be all for seeing Heath be more involved in the passing game, and his blocking is usually spot on. Even he though can't do everything when you have 2 inexperienced guys at Tackle.

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    Draft Pick Thisoneguy555's Avatar
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    Heath hasn't been that great at blocking this season, neither has Johnson... It seems no one on the Steelers can block this season except the wide receivers.

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    Assistant Coach coldrolled's Avatar
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    let saunders play for 85... it cant get worse.

    miller is fine.. you have to call the plays for miller to catch a ball.

    this offense better open up this week or this game will get ugly fast.

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    Stairwayto7's Avatar
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    Miller has to worry about his guy, the Tackles guy, the guards guy, hell he cant block everyone. Oh yeah the run a route once in a while. This guy is sooooooooo underrated


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    Veteran steelchamp204's Avatar
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    Idk why Heath feels he has to do anything. He is a great TE. I think Ba needs to admit he needs to step up his playcalling to get heath more involved.

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    Starter SteelJunkie's Avatar
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    Unfortunately its out of Miller's hands. The line needs to step up with what is called, because we all know Arians isn't changing.

    James Harrison - "Right now, you know, some people may want to jump on the Steelers bandwagon.
    Don't do that. We don't need you. We didn't need you at the beginning, we don't need you now."

  8. #8
    BlitzburghRockCity's Avatar
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    I have seen Miller miss a few blocks this year, but considering the guys he's been playing beside it's hardly anything near as bad as that. He's as money as it gets. It's unfortunate that he may have to take on a bigger blocking role just to keep our Quarterback from getting killed. If we had 5 Heath Millers on the offensive line we'd have no problem at all. LOL

  9. #9
    I am pretty great. Rampage's Avatar
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    Remember when Miller was used in the passing game? Those were the good ol' days.

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