Re: TE Factoids, How important are they, anyway?
Sorry, in the home stretch for wedding plans, meant to do a Cliff Notes version of this thread.
Here's what I got so far...
First BRC I think the question is wrong. It is not about a player being a key. See NE, 3 of 4, on this reasoning. So I want to make sure we focus this on Steelers and the TE position first.
Seeing how 4 teams broke the mold, says two things. Either you don't have a need for a TE or you need to get one more involved. My response on this is we have had too many years of being #1 in rushing and defense(or close enough)to say the first of the two is false, or its a harder road to tow. We could pull it off and join the ranks of those 4 teams, but lets see what the other option holds. The second option is why I want it to be position specific first. On those 4 teams, the rank of receptions to TE's is as follows: Rams 32, 49ers 30, Skins 21, and even Packers 13. Yes they did throw the ball a little back in the day, huh? So what did we do being so close to success last year? Steelers 17 caught passes to TE's. If your read S4S post you see our TD % is great but misleading(17 catches from TE's, 5 TD's). Bottom line we would have to get our TE involved 2x as much to even be included in those 4 teams. The math is rounding a little but the point is simple. Logic dictates even to be stat long horse, we must involve the TE more to be better balanced. Now to your question.
As for which player depends on performance. (Odds are Miller and Tuman, but since we are being very geeky on this thread...) The TE position is one that can cause not so much a match up nightmare, but more like a mistake from time to time where a CB ends up covering, or a LB ends up covering one on a run play opening a hole. By passing a little more(notes Millers size should make him more visible in the middle) to the TE we can come back in balance to keep teams honest. See Bettis 4th and 1, teams knew who and where. I knew and I "flip burgers" for a living. Miller is a talent and Tuman skills outmatch the respect given him on defense. So I see these two as being a huge key to a Super Bowl because the three keys as discussed in other threads are running effectively(YPA), third down defense(bend but don't break), and turnovers(it is still just 1 game and TO's kill). I see TE's involved in 1 1/2 of these keys.
BRC that actually is as simple as I could make it, but at least I made it. This next to the Q&A thread has been quite fun.