Friday’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions was pretty lackluster all around for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but fortunately for the black and gold, a few unexpected bright spots emerged throughout the game.
Second-year wide receiver Cobi Hamilton, whom the Steelers just signed on August 5, really stood out in the passing game during the second half, hauling in two official passes for 22 yards, including a long of 16 yards while having one late reception negated by a penalty.
Today, we’ll do a film review of Hamilton’s performance against the Lions, but keep in mind that All-22 film is not made available on NFL Game Pass, so this entire article is based off of what we can see on the TV feed.
Hamilton finally gets into the game offensively midway through the third quarter with Bruce Gradkowski directing the offense.
As a boundary receiver, Hamilton is working one-on-one with the cornerback on this play. At the snap, Hamilton gets a good release off the line, but his swim back to the outside is a bit slow, allowing the corner to recover in a timely fashion.
Due to the slow swim back to the outside, Hamilton loses a chance at the deep ball, which appears to be what Gradkowski was looking for at the snap.
This time, Hamilton shows a sense of urgency with his move and gets a quick, clean release to the inside on the slant route, but unfortunately for Hamilton, the offensive line on the third group had a rough night all around and barely gave Dustin Vaughan any time to survey the field.
If Vaughan would have had time to see Hamilton, I think it would be a safe assumption to think that he’d have thrown his way.
Hamilton finally has his first target of the game, but unfortunately for the former Arkansas Razorback and Cincinnati Bengal, the reception doesn’t gain many yards and the Steelers have to punt.
The issue I have here with Hamilton is that he largely rounds off this out-route to get outside of the numbers. By rounding off his route, Hamilton allows the Detroit corner to stick with him. Plus, Hamilton gets too close to the sideline here and has to sort of come back to the ball, during which he slips down for minimal gain.
Nothing flashy, but later on in the game Hamilton appears to clean up his route running.
With the Detroit corner sitting nine yards off the ball, Hamilton has a free release up the field and into the secondary.
Although I can’t really tell what exact route he runs once he exits the screen, based off of where he winds up at the point of catch has me thinking it was some sort of dig/curl down the seam.
At the point of catch, Hamilton does a nice job of shielding the defender away from the ball with his body, allowing him to catch it with his chest and secure it to the ground for the first down.
While I’m not big on guys body catching a lot — which is what Hamilton did a ton of in this game — he had to do it in this situation because of the defender draped all over him.
Wrapping things up with Hamilton, this play here was the catch that was negated due to a penalty, but his might have been his best work of the night.
Using a similar release and swim that he employed all night, Hamilton jabs hard inside before then clubbing and swimming back outside to work towards sideline.
From there, Hamilton has to work back to the ball on the comeback route while also making sure to put himself between the defender and the ball to make the catch.
I was really impressed with the hand usage early in the route and then the veteran savvy to use his body as a buffer to haul in the pass through contact.
It was really a shame that this reception was wiped out.
Overall, Hamilton really showed some flashes against the Lions. Although he’s a fringe player on this roster right now, more performances like the one he had Friday night could push him onto this roster.