Tuesday, January 14, 2014
A review of Steelers' offensive snap counts
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger played every snap and was the only Steelers offensive player to log more than 1,000 snaps in 2013.
Roethlisberger was under center for all 1,021 of the Steelers' snaps, according to ESPN Stats & Info, with wide receiver Antonio Brown (923), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (922), right guard David DeCastro (922) and tight end Heath Miller (874) rounding out the top five in playing time among offensive players.
Here is a look at other snap counts on that side of the ball:
Le'Veon Bell logged 656 snaps despite missing the first three games of the season because of a foot injury. Bell played the most of the five running backs selected in the second round of the 2013 NFL draft, edging out Green Bay's Eddie Lacy by four snaps. Cincinnati's Giovani Bernard played 589 snaps with Denver's Montee Ball and Seattle's Christine Michael logging 302 and 26 snaps respectively. Michael has the hardest path to the field as he is playing behind Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin in Seattle.
Four offensive linemen played at least 800 snaps with left guard Ramon Foster (819) and left tackle Kelvin Beachum (807) joining Gilbert and DeCastro in that group. Fernando Velasco played 723 snaps despite not signing with the Steelers until after the first game of the season and missing the final four games because of a ruptured Achilles tendon. Eight offensive lineman played at least 250 snaps.
Rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton logged just 153 snaps -- the fewest among the players in his draft class -- and not just because a broken pinkie caused him to miss four games and stunted his professional growth. The Steelers did not use many four-wide receiver sets, making it hard for the Wheaton to get on the field. Consider that No. 3 wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery played 617 snaps while Emmanuel Sanders, who started opposite Brown, logged 771 snaps. Look for Wheaton's snaps to at least triple in 2014 if Sanders signs elsewhere as an unrestricted free agent.
One reason why Miller is so respected in the Steelers' locker room is because of his work ethic, and the snaps he played in 2013 reflected how much he put into returning to the field less than a year after reconstructive knee surgery. The ninth-year veteran finished 10th on the team with 874 snaps despite missing the first two games and playing limited snaps in his first game back from torn knee ligaments. Miller proved to be remarkably durable as he played every snap in seven of 14 games. One key for the Steelers in 2014 will be having Miller and Matt Spaeth healthy at the same time for the majority of the season. Spaeth missed the first 12 games because of a foot injury but he averaged just under 39 snaps in the Steelers' final three games.
I will break down the Steelers' defensive snaps in my next post.