The Pittsburgh Steelers won’t begin training camp for just over another, so, like last year at this same time, I thought we would spend the next week or so talking about a few players that many believe will have a decent shot at making the 2016 final 53-man roster. Basically, these are players that we can’t quite consider locks, but do consider as being on the bubble ahead of the team reporting to Latrobe.
After reading the recap of the player that we highlight, you can cast your vote as to whether or not you think that player will make the final 53-man roster. Each poll will run for three days.
The seventh player up in this series is tight end Matt Spaeth.
2015 Season Recap:
Spaeth’ 2015 season with the Steelers was below average when it comes to his previous seasons that he played in Pittsburgh. In total, the Steelers backup tight end played 242 snaps on offense during the regular season in addition to another 158 snaps on special teams. He finished the regular season with two receptions for 10 yards with most of his playing time on offense revolving around him being used primarily as a second tight end with his primary role being blocking.
Spaeth did miss three regular season games in 2015 with hand and knee injuries and was a regularly listed on the team’s weekly injury report. Once regarded as one of the league’s best blocking tight ends, Spaeth’s play in that area slipped quite a bit in 2015. He especially struggled getting out to blocks on the edge and wasn’t his normal reliable self on the end of the line of scrimmage in addition.
Spaeth’s special teams contributions last season left a lot to be desired and he failed to register as much as an assisted tackle as part of the punt coverage team where he blocked on the wing for a part of the year. When used as a blocker on kickoff returns, he rarely stuck out on tape for anything positive.
2016 Training Camp Outlook:
Due to him needing offseason knee surgery, Spaeth failed to participate much, if any, during the teams OTA and minicamp practices. With him set to turn 33 years of age in November, his durability is now in question.
After losing longtime starting tight end Heath Miller to retirement during the offseason, the Steelers immediately replaced him by signing free agent Ladarius Green, who will now be expected to be the starter moving forward. With second-year tight end Jesse James expected to see his role in the Steelers offense increase significantly in 2016, Spaeth’s spot on the final 53-man roster is far from guaranteed as we sit here just ahead of the team reporting to Latrobe.
While Spaeth might very well be currently considered third on the tight end depth chart right now, he’ll have to beat out youngster Xavier Grimble and perhaps even veteran David Johnson during training camp if he’s going to stick around to play out the final year of his current contract. Being as Spaeth is no longer considered a huge asset on special teams, in addition to him never being considered a huge threat in the passing game, he probably won’t be hard to overtake on the depth chart this summer if either Grimble or Johnson can prove that their blocking skills and special team contributions are on par with his own.
We’ll know soon if Spaeth will have to begin training camp on the team’s Active PUP list and should that ultimately wind up being the case, his potential 2016 roster spot will certainly be in jeopardy. However, if fully healthy, Spaeth will certainly put up a solid battle during training camp.
Vote below and tell us the reason why you voted the way that you did in the comments.
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