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An important history lesson for you TRUE Steelers fans!

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Old 10-09-2009, 04:57 AM   #1
Galax Steeler
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Default On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

Friday, October 09, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Matt Freed/Post-Gazette


Since when did the Steelers go all Tony Gonzalez-Antonio Gates-Dallas Clark in their passing game?

This is a team that has three tight ends on its roster and treats them as the literal definition describes them. They are tight ends, players who line up next to the tackles, block and serve as a bailout target for a quarterback in trouble.

Gonzalez caught 96 passes as Kansas City's tight end last season before he moved to Atlanta this year. Clark caught 77 last season with Indianapolis and has 26 this season. Antonio Gates, whose career high is 89 receptions, has 24 with San Diego through four games.

Then, there's Heath Miller of the Steelers. He, too, had a career high last season, 48 receptions. Those were the most by a Steelers tight end in 15 years, since Eric Green set a team record at the position with 63 in '93.

But look who ranks among the league leaders in receptions: Miller has caught 24 passes through four games, tied with Gates for sixth among all NFL receivers, just two behind Clark and two off Hines Ward's team-leading 26.

Miller is on pace to catch 96 and, while that effectiveness might not continue, he certainly has become a bigger target in the Steelers' passing game. He may have Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes to thank for part of it.

"They're starting to double-cover 'Tone a little more, and you just kind of pick your poison," offensive coordinator Bruce Arians reasoned for the explosion of Miller's stats, which include a team-high two touchdown receptions. "He's getting open and doing a good job."

Miller sees it as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger merely taking his last option as defensive backs drop deep to prevent the long ball.

"A lot of plays, it's not that I'm the focus point or I'm the No. 1 option; guys are dropping back and Ben's checking the ball down, and that's when the ball comes to me or the back a lot of times. A lot of my catches come on those plays."

His average of 7.5 yards per catch backs that up; it is far below his career average of 11.5 yards. That is a statistic that more reflects how the Steelers use him, as opposed to how the Colts use Clark (14.0 yards per catch) and Chargers use Gates (14.5).

"We don't use him as a wide receiver," Arians said. "He's catching all his balls as a tight end, and that's hard to do. I think you look what San Diego does with Gates, he's more their true split receiver, as is Tony Gonzalez.

"I always felt [Miller] was the best tight end in the AFC. That doesn't put you in the Pro Bowl; your numbers do. His numbers are better than we'd hoped they would be. I still don't really care about Pro Bowls."
Roster matters

Troy Polamalu and Willie Parker have those won't-play looks about them this week.

Polamalu said yesterday he wants to play but added it is up to coach Mike Tomlin and Polamalu's doctors. He went through another limited practice wearing his brace without joining the first-team defense and looks like someone trying to shake off the rust for a possible return against Cleveland Oct. 18 at Heinz Field.

Parker did not get to practice at all again and may not suit up in Detroit because of his turf toe and the artificial turf at Ford Field.

Rashard Mendenhall will start with third-down back Mewelde Moore and halfback/fullback Carey Davis among the other healthy backs.

If Parker cannot go, the Steelers could repeat their roster switch from Saturday, signing halfback Isaac Redman from the practice squad and releasing defensive end Nick Eason for the game.

"We'll have to wait and see if Willie's available," Arians said. "If he is, we'll deal with it then, if he's not it will be Rashard and Mo and see what happens."

Arians said Mendenhall has not yet earned the right to take over the starting job when both backs are healthy. He could, however, be convinced to make such a switch Sunday in Detroit.

"His body of work isn't large enough yet to say I'm going to do that," Arians said. "Now, if he comes out and does it again this week? Yeah, then you have to re-evaluate the number of carries both guys get. But until he's a proven commodity ... Willie Parker is a proven commodity and, when Rashard is, yeah, then we'll re-evaluate who's getting what.

"I hope to get to that problem. I'd like to have two healthy running backs with those two at the same time."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09282/1004128-66.stm
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Old 10-09-2009, 06:55 AM   #2
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

Heath Miller has been money in the bank since day one. It comes as no surprise that they are passing to him more. If they stopped passing to him, not only would be I suprised, I'd be dissapointed.
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Old 10-10-2009, 03:28 PM   #3
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

I love me some Heath Miller! There is no doubt in my mind that Heath is the best all around TE in the entire NFL.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:01 PM   #4
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

Heath is one of our first down guys and a great redzone player....We would have scored alot more points when he's used in the endzone....He could be another Whitten if used more.
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Old 10-10-2009, 05:29 PM   #5
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

In his career, Heath Miller has caught 75% of the balls thrown at him.

This year, he has caught 89% of the balls thrown at him.

Remember, those stats INCLUDE passes defended against, throw-aways where he was in the area, and passes that hit the ground, are behind him, etc.

Those are some BIG NUMBERS... especially this year!
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:28 PM   #6
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
In his career, Heath Miller has caught 75% of the balls thrown at him.

This year, he has caught 89% of the balls thrown at him.

Remember, those stats INCLUDE passes defended against, throw-aways where he was in the area, and passes that hit the ground, are behind him, etc.

Those are some BIG NUMBERS... especially this year!
They were talking in the Charger game about how if Heath misses a pass in practice it gets real quiet. He rarely drops one. And like Hines when the ball is not thrown his way he's blocking. I can't think of another TE I'd rather see lining up for us.
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:49 PM   #7
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

they better be careful dropping eason off the roster...he'd start for the chargers...
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:27 PM   #8
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

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They were talking in the Charger game about how if Heath misses a pass in practice it gets real quiet. He rarely drops one. And like Hines when the ball is not thrown his way he's blocking. I can't think of another TE I'd rather see lining up for us.
Yep... you know, outside of Ben, he may have been the single best first round draft pick this decade.

And yes, I am thinking through Troy P. Santo, Hampton, Mendy, Timmons, and Burress.

Of that group, only Troy P. may make a greater impact. However, answer this question, who makes the consistant greater impact game in and game out, every series?

That may be a tough question, because teams GP around Troy... but IMO, they ALWAYS have to know where Miller is too.

Plus, Miller seems to be healthier all the way around, which puts a notch on his side.
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Let's ask it this way,

If you HAD to lose either Troy or Heath, and both backups were of equal value in there respective positions, who would you rather lose?

I don't know, but I may have to say Troy over Heath.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

HEEEAAAATTTTTHHHHH!!!!!!
THATS ALL I HAVE TO SAY...
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: On the Steelers: Holmes sets Miller free

I'm with ya Preacher! Heath Miller/ Big Ben/ Troy have three great draft picks. I think Heath is a lot like Witten because, both of them find seams in the defense to get open and make big plays.
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