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Steelers’ Archer Without A Quiver

It’s now 10 games into the 2014 season, and rookie running back Dri Archer has yet to register a single explosive play.

As a matter of fact, he’s only played 37 snaps all season, and 15 of those snaps came in the season opener. Even the most pessimistic prognosticators of that draft selection likely did not predict that little usage out of him.

Even Chris Rainey played over 150 snaps during his 16-game stint with the Steelers in 2012, averaging close to 10 snaps per game. If you exclude the 15-snap outlier of the season opener, Archer has averaged just over three snaps since returning from injury in Week Four.

Last week, he played just two snaps, and he didn’t touch the ball on either occasion. Both snaps came in passing situations, and he was not targeted on either.

He’s been in on only 11 rushing plays thus far in his 37 snaps, getting the carry on eight snaps for a total of 41 yards, with a long run of 15. That’s an average of 5.1 yards per carry, but that figure is meaningless with such a small sample size.

As a receiver, Ben Roethlisberger has targeted him seven times, catching four of those targets for just nine yards, seven of them coming on one play. He dropped a screen pass against the Indianapolis Colts, and that was the only snap he played that game.

As of right now, you’ll have a hard time selling the idea that drafting Archer in the third round hasn’t been an out-and-out bust, because the Steelers have virtually no return on investment through the first eight games of his career.

On offense, he has been unable to contribute. His most significant game came in the blowout loss to the Cleveland Browns, in which he carried the ball three times (a career high) for 24 yards, 15 of which came on one play, adding one reception for no gain.

The week before the Browns game, he had one carry for two yards and two receptions for eight yards. The week after the Browns game, he had two carries for seven yards—one a nine-yard gain, and one a two-yard loss.

He has, over the past three weeks, carried the ball one time for four yards and been targeted twice, coming down with zero receptions with one drop.

Lest we forget, he was also removed from his special teams duties three weeks ago after averaging under 19 yards per return on nine kick returns through Week Seven.

It was hoped, at the least, that Archer would be able to contribute in that role during his rookie season. There was hope that he would be able to take Antonio Brown off of punt return duty—but he lost out on that in the preseason. Now, the Steelers also have to rely on Markus Wheaton, their other starting receiver, to return kicks.

The Steelers have no use for an Archer with an empty quiver. They can’t seem to find him a place in this offense, and when he’s been given the rare opportunity, he hasn’t been able to make the most of it.

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