Monday night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Houston Texans featured multiple Steelers rookies playing meaningful snaps. It was projected that this year’s draft class would be considered one of Mike Tomlin best, and then things took a different turn. After personnel changes were made by the coaching staff, including Tomlin, how they play the rest of the season will be something worth keeping a eye on.
Last night wide receiver Martavis Bryant scored on a 35-yard touchdown. His presence on field opened up the offense as he aims to show he can be a consistent deep threat. In the first quarter he beat single coverage very well to ateempt another touchdown, but was overthrown by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. If Bryant continues to show he can make plays downfield it will open up the offense and take a lot of pressure off veteran receiver Antonio Brown.
Defensive end Stephon Tuitt and defensive tackle Daniel McCullers played efficient snaps last night.
When McCullers entered the game, his presence in the middle forced the Texans to run the football outside which made their runs more predictable. The Steelers defense was able to contain the outside with confidence that McCullers could handle the inside pressure. With nose tackle Steve McLendon returning soon it will be interesting to see how much playing time MCcullers recieves going forth. With his presence in the middle it’s likely he will be on the active roster going forward.
Tuitt struggled a bit early on but settled down and displayed his bull-rushing ability as well as his run-stopping ability. Any defensive end who can pressure the quarterback in the 3-4 defense is worth keeping an eye on. Going forward Tuitt will play more snaps bolstering the defensive line depth.
As the rookies improve the team will improve. Tomlin has received a lot of pressure from fans and critics, calling for him to be removed from his head coaching position due to an inability to get the Steelers to the next level of play. By allowing Bryant, Tuitt and McCullers to be inserted against a tough Texans team, Tomlin may have secured his position and restored trust in his coaching ability.
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