The Pittsburgh Steelers chose to dress rookie undrafted free agent wide receiver Tyler Murphy over rookie third round draft pick wide receiver Sammie Coates this past Thursday night in their regular-season opening loss to the New England Patriots and during his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about what led to that decision.
“He just provides more versatility,” said Tomlin of Murphy. “He’s a guy that’s played multiple positions at the wideout spot and he’s played some quarterback. He’s got a clean understanding of how each man fits overall into the structure of what we’re doing. Sammy [Coates] was more of a one-positional guy. We thought that hatting him [Murphy] would provide us more versatility in that vein. Obviously, whatever guy we dress is going to be the fourth receiver and less of an impact than others and that’s how it transpired.”
While nothing is set in stone right now, it appears as though we can expect Murphy to dress over Coates once again this coming Sunday when the Steelers play host to the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field. That course of action could also potentially continue until wide receiver Martavis Bryant returns in Week 5 from his four-game suspension.
While Murphy failed to log any special teams playing time against the Patriots, he did play seven snaps on offense in the game with all seven snaps coming during the Steelers final offensive possession. The Boston College product recorded one fourth down catch during that drive and it resulted in a first down. The Steelers offense scored two plays later to make it a seven point game with seven seconds left in regulation.
As for Coates, much like Bryant during his 2014 rookie season, he might not dress for a game until later on in the season barring any injuries. The Auburn product registered 10 catches for 179 yards during the preseason in the 148 snaps that he played.