Perhaps now it’s time to get Dri Archer a touch or two on the offensive side of the ball?
I say this knowing full well both the unlikely nature of this occurring as well as the schematic and personnel scenarios that make it difficult for him to even get on the field, having as of yet logged just three snaps in garbage time in the season opener.
If, however, Landry Jones does indeed end up starting, then it is not an insignificant fact that the two have had some compatibility, as well as success, hooking up during the preseason over the past two years.
More importantly, however, the second-year slash player has shown that he has made strides as a kick returner this year, on eight total returns on the season through the first six games.
Archer has averaged 25.5 yards per return thus far, for a total of 204 return yards, which ranks 14th among those with at least five returns. He posted a career-long 35-yard return in the last game, taking the ball out to the 39-yard line.
In addition, six of his eight returns have gone for at least 20 yards. Compared to last season, when just four of nine returns when for at least 20 yards, that is a significant improvement. A year ago, he averaged just 17.9 yards per return.
Archer’s worst return of this season came as a result of a missed block from his up back, which also came in the Steelers’ last game, where he was tackled at the 14-yard line after a 15-yard return. Had the block been made, he should have at least reached the 20-yard line.
On his path toward improvement, Archer has displayed better instincts, escapability, and, perhaps most importantly, a greater degree of confidence in his abilities. While he has yet to put everything together, it now seems as though there may be something to work with.
It seems that Archer is able to supply an offensive boost with a solid return at least once a week, and this has come about because of the improvements in the aforementioned areas, areas that should also translate to the offensive side of the ball.
The question, of course, is how the Steelers could find him snaps, which necessitates taking a valuable skill position player off the field. After all, in spite of a very good showing through the first two games as the starting running back, DeAngelo Williams has even struggled to see the field.
Especially with Martavis Bryant back, and the passing game perhaps able to get back on the right track after being limited by Mike Vick’s abilities through most of the past three games, it would seem to make even less sense to go out of the way to put Archer on the field.
Not that it can’t be done. It’s just a matter of calling one player off the field to put another one on. Surely the Steelers have not completely given up on the idea that Archer can be a contributor on offense already.