Steelers Notebook: Tight end Miller does not expect to lead team in receiving yardage
Thursday, September 14, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Heath Miller stands atop the leader board for the Steelers with 101 yards receiving. No tight end has led the Steelers in receiving yards for a season since Eric Green did so in 1993 and 1994. He does not expect it to happen this season, either.
"I don't think it's going to change much, I think we'll take the same approach," said the second-year player. "In cases like that, when teams are concerned bout Hines [Ward], maybe I'll pop up some more like last game."
Thursday night against Miami, Charlie Batch looked off Ward, who was double-covered, and threw a looping pass to Miller, who ran 87 yards down the right sideline for a touchdown. NBC-TV proclaimed it the longest touchdown catch by a tight end since the New York Jets' Richard Caster scored from 89 yards in 1974.
"I didn't know that," Miller said.
As a rookie, Miller was second on the team with 39 receptions to Ward's 69. Miller was third with 459 yards receiving and second with six touchdown catches. He's nearly one-fourth of the way to his total receiving yards last season after one game. He caught three passes against Miami.
Many who saw the 6-foot-5, 256-pounder run along the sideline were surprised at his speed.
"I was just running as fast as I could," said Miller, who claims not to know his 40 time. "I got a pretty good head start on those guys, so I'm sure that helped out a lot."
Hines Ward was the only Steelers player not to practice yesterday, and he said he will join his teammates on the field today. Ward is listed as probable with a hamstring injury that did not keep him out of the opener.
"The extra day, from playing Thursday to having a full week off, is really going to help me in the long run. I'm feeling good and I'm close to getting 100 percent."
The other three players coach Bill Cowher listed as questionable --strong safety Troy Polamalu (shoulder), quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (appendectomy) and tight end Jerame Tuman (hamstring) practiced.
Jacksonville released its injury report with five players questionable: Tight end Mercedes Lewis (ankle), linebacker Mike Peterson (knee), safety Gerald Sensabaugh (ankle), defensive end Paul Spicer (groin) and defensive tackle Marcus Stroud (ankle).
NFL official scorers changed a statistic from the Steelers' game last week. Instead of a 3-yard loss on a fumbled snap, Charlie Batch was given 0 yards lost, giving him 20 yards rushing and the team 146 yards rushing and 342 yards overall. ... The Steelers practiced indoors with the heat turned up to try to acclimate themselves to what they might face in Jacksonville. ... The Jaguars lead the series, 9-8, one of only two that Bill Cowher has a losing regular-season record against in five or more meetings. The other is Seattle (2-4).