Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back slash wide receiver Dri Archer has logged 23 snaps thus far in three games this season.
As a running back, he’s carried the ball two times for six yards. As a wide receiver, he has three catches for nine yards. He’s averaging three yards per touch on five touches, for a total of a whopping 15 yards.
As a kick returner, when he’s not watching the ball go sailing past him through the back of the end zone, he’s been leaving the ball short of the 20-yard line. He has now returned four kickoffs for a total of 65 yards, averaging 16.3 yards per return.
And that’s failing to mention that he was unable to earn the trust of the coaching staff to allow him to return punts, which continues to expose All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown to greater risk, even though it hasn’t hurt his productivity.
It’s hard not to be somewhat disappointed in the early returns from the rookie, especially considering he was brought in with visions of adding versatility and unpredictability to the offensive formations.
While it may be true that the defense does have to key on him to make sure where he is when he’s on the field, when he has the ball in the hands, he’s beginning to remind some people of 2012 draft pick Chris Rainey.
Of course, all it would take is for him to break off one long gain or bounce off a tackle or two on a run between the tackles to start changing some minds.
But then again, that’s the same thing everybody waited on to see from Rainey as well. Unlike him, however, Archer still has more than enough opportunities in his future to prove that he’s not what he currently seems to be.
Naturally, it also has a lot to do with the offense putting him in the right position to make plays, and it can certainly be argued that they have come far short of excelling in that area thus far.
A few of his plays have, quite frankly, been poorly executed. The end around to the short side of the field in the red zone, in the season opener if I recall correctly, comes to mind as a play that fell short in part due to the way it was blocked.
But in the meantime, I wonder if it might not be possible to let Archer sit on the bench, despite the fact that the Steelers only have two other running backs on the roster. Will Johnson served as the third back in the two games that he already missed.
That spot doesn’t necessarily have to be given to fellow rookie Martavis Bryant, who has been inactive so far for the first five games of his career, and doesn’t appear likely to get a helmet any time soon. But given the results of his contributions to the offense so far, I’m not so sure that the game day helmet is necessary, and it might serve as motivation.