I’ve been looking for a time to give you guys an in-depth update on the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive charting numbers for the year, and the bye week seemed like a good time to go into detail on some fun stats.
First we’ll look at personnel packages, as I’ve listed the full breakdown of each grouping and how many times the team has utilized it in 663 snaps this season.
01 personnel: 5x
10 personnel: 3x
11 personnel: 420x
12 personnel: 90x
13 personnel: 35x
20 personnel: 4x
21 personnel: 32x
22 personnel: 53x
23 personnel: 5x
Victory formation (Kneel-downs): 11x
If you don’t know, the numbers of each personnel package are simply the numbers of running backs and tight ends on the field, respectively. For example, 11 personnel, the Steelers most common package, is one running back and one tight end, which obviously results in three wide receivers on the field to reach 11 players. 12 personnel would be one running back, two tight ends, two wide receivers, 13 personnel would be one running back, three tight ends, one wide receiver, and so on and so forth. Pretty simple, but I just want to make sure we’re all on the same page moving forward.
So out of 663 snaps, the Steelers are in 11 personnel (3 WRs) over 63 percent of the time. No other package is utilized more than 13.5 percent of the time (12 personnel). Not really a surprise to see the Steelers lean heavily on three wide receiver sets given their talent at the position and their propensity to work from the shotgun. Just last week against Cleveland, Ben Roethlisberger was in the shotgun on 53 of 62 snaps, undoubtedly to ease the stress on his sprained foot.
For the season the Steelers have used play-action 44 times. 22 with Roethlisberger under center, and 22 under Mike Vick and Landry Jones. Roethlisberger has 378 snaps to the backup duo’s 275, but either way you tell the team feels comfortable with all their quarterbacks in PA situations, although Ben is easily the most effective on tape. Shocker.
DeAngelo Williams has missed just 14 snaps since Le’Veon Bell went down with a torn MCL, playing 189 out of a possible 203 reps. Huge workload for the veteran back, but he’s seemed more than capable of handling it. Jordan Todman has just 12 offensive snaps this season, and has not been on the field with Williams once.
Will Johnson has just one snap in the past two games, while Roosevelt Nix has 34 over the same time period, including two at tight end over Johnson. On the season Nix is out-snapping Johnson 93 to 61. If this is the end for Johnson in Pittsburgh, it is a tough break for a selfless player who filled multiple roles at a high level for years now. Still see him as the more versatile threat compared to Nix, but there is just more usage for a blocking back in Pittsburgh’s offense than anything Johnson brings to the table.
Heath Miller has been all over the offense this year, with 106 of his 633 snaps coming at wide receiver. 95 of those have been in the slot, while 11 have come flexed out wide. Miller even has two snaps at fullback, while playing just under 97 percent of the Steelers offensive snaps, highest of any non-linemen.
Matt Spaeth has been in-line for all of his 124 snaps this season, while Jesse James has already been flexed three time in 48 reps. Personal thank you to the Steelers coaches for not forcing us to watch Spaeth lined up as a wide receiver. Love you, Matt.
I’m sure there have been a lot of question about the wide receiver snap breakdown since Martavis Bryant returned to the lineup. Here’s the season breakdown, followed by the weekly snap counts since Bryant returned in Week 6.
Antonio Brown: 622 snaps (95.3%
Markus Wheaton: 418 snaps (64%)
Darrius Heyward-Bey: 309 snaps (47.3%)
Martavis Bryant: 230 snaps (35.2%)
So obviously Brown dominating the majority of snaps, while Bryant slightly out-snaps Wheaton on a weekly basis since returning. Heyward-Bey figures into the mix occasionally as well, and is heavily utilized in rushing situations. I don’t think he’s a great blocker, but he’s a willing one and he’s certainly better than Bryant, who needs to make big strides in that area.
355 or 85 percent of Wheaton’s snaps have come from the slot, a number which dwarfs the rest of the wide receiver group. Heyward-Bey has 87 snaps in the slot, Brown has 70, and Bryant just 37. Todd Haley is confident with each receiver playing all over the formation, which creates mismatches against defenses consistently. But Wheaton is still the main man in the slot.
Season Drop Counter
Brown: 6 (115 targets)
Bryant: 4 (42 targets)
Wheaton: 4 (32 targets)
Heyward-Bey: 3 (31 targets)
Williams: 1 (18 targets)
Miller: 1 (50 targets)
Spaeth: 1 (2 targets)
Bell: 0 (26 targets)
I feel certain Miller has a second drop I forgot to mark, but I can’t find it anywhere in the game tape. I’ll keep looking, but let me know if you remember one. The one I have is against Oakland.
I don’t know if any site keeps track of this statistic, but Wheaton has to have one of the lowest target to snap ratios in the NFL. In 418 snaps he’s been targeted on just 32 throws, or 7.6 percent of the time. Ten less targets than Bryant despite almost twice the snaps. By comparison Brown is getting a pass thrown his way on almost 20 percent of his snaps, or a fifth of the time. I’m gonna have to start focusing on him more when re-watching game tape, to see if he’s not getting open, or just subject to the statistical dominance of Brown.
David DeCastro, Cody Wallace, and Marcus Gilbert are the only players on the Steelers offense to play 100 percent of the team’s snaps this season. Let’s pray it stays that way the rest of the year, unless Maurkice Pouncey miraculously returns of course.