Eli Rogers Practice Habits Basis For Successful Preseason

It’s been an tough-to-watch preseason for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. But the one consistently bright spot has been Eli Rogers, coming off a four catch, 39 yard performance. He attributes that success to practice habits and a simple message instilled by the coaching staff.

“Coach Todd always says, it’s just like practice,” Rogers told Missi Matthews after the game. “Coach Randy always tells me, it’s just like practice. I just try to keep that bug in my ear. Coach Tomlin always says make routine plays routinely. So I just try to keep that [mindset] and go out there and make plays.”

He is, of course, referring to Todd Haley and quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, who is very active with the wide receivers during camp, an ex-receivers coach himself who worked with the group in the spring when Richard Mann missed coming off surgery.

It’s plain to see the progression he’s making. Rogers acknowledged he was happy with the way his first pair of NFL games have gone.

“I believe I’ve took strides every game. Just taking what I do in practice and trying to convert it into the game.”

Through two games, Rogers officially has five catches for 47 yards and he had a reception in the first game called back due to penalty. He’s taken full advantage of the time Markus Wheaton has missed.

It still is a bit difficult to envision exactly how he’ll see consistent snaps in the Steelers’ offense during the regular season. The best chance would come when the team moves Wheaton to the outside, opening up a spot for Rogers in the slot. Considering the struggles Sammie Coates has dealt with and Darrius Heyward-Bey expected to be just a rotational player, the door has cracked open, even if the room we’re looking at is a bit messy.

Rogers’ 53 man roster spot is assured but he knows in order to carve out a role for this offense, he must play with the same consistency these next two weeks.

“Right now, I”m just focused on being a consistent player. If I do that, everything else will play itself out.”

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