Sammie Coates can be a frustrating player for not only the Pittsburgh Steelers themselves, but for the fan base as well.
For a guy with tons of talent as a receiver, Coates is massively inconsistent and might remind some fans of Limas Sweed, who could never put it together for the Steelers.
That being said, I certainly don’t feel that way and I’ve been on record saying Coates will be a great player for the Steelers for years to come, especially if he puts on a performance like he did against the New Orleans Saints in last Friday’s third preseason game.
Shaking off two inconsistent games against the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles, Coates bounced back in a big way for the Steelers, hauling in two passes for 66 yards and a touchdown against the Saints, showing just what he can be when he’s clicking.
Let’s take a look at the touchdown Coates scored against the Saints.
The route looks like a simple out route that Coates smokes Kenny Vaccaro on for the easy touchdown.
Out of the bunch set, Coates loses the defense a bit at the snap, allowing him to use his speed to get to the top of his route before exploding to the outside, giving Landry Jones a wide open window to loft the throw to for the easy touchdown.
Later in the game Coates puts his deep speed on display for a 58-yard catch in the second half on a straight go-route.
At the snap, Coates does a good job of getting outside of Saints corner Damian Swann, giving him a clean vertical release before turning on the jets.
Knowing that Swann has no help over the top and seeing that Coates beats him cleanly, Jones lofts a perfect throw down the field that Coates catches in stride.
What I really like about this play though is how hard Coates runs after the catch, refusing to go down on first contact, fighting for every extra yard he can get on the play.
Working against Swann again a few drives later, Coates’ threat to get deep forces the corner to lock him up well past the line and grab his jersey, resulting in the easy pass interference call.
Kudos to Jones for seeing this happening as well, allowing him to throw in Coates’ direction to make sure the penalty is called.
Unfortunately, there’s just not much tape to see from this penalty develop, so you just have to trust me on this. (Side note: can’t wait for the regular season so I can have access to All-22.)
While Coates was very solid as a receiver, I had one little issue to nitpick with him as a special teams player.
As a gunner on punts, Coates was strong (from what I could see on the TV feed). Where I had an issue with him was on the kick-off team following the Steelers’ first touchdown of the game.
Coates doesn’t have contain responsibilities here, so to speak, but he has to recognize that nobody is to his immediate outside, so he has to get outside of the Saints’ wall just a bit quicker.
By being slow to react on the coverage, Coates allows CJ Spiller to turn the corner and get up the field. If Coates wants to earn more playing time at wide receiver, he needs to be better on special teams.
Making that tackle would have looked great in the eyes of the coaching staff, but I’m sure this clip was replayed a bit in film room because it’s just not a good play from Coates.