The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: Game Edition – How does Ladarius Green play in his first action, assuming that he dresses?
I know, I know, there have been a lot of questions about Steelers tight end Ladarius Green lately, but frankly, that comes with the territory. When you have a pricy acquisition who has yet to see the field through the first half of his first season with the team, there are going to be a lot of questions. And this question seems to be an appropriate one under the circumstances.
The Steelers had until 4 PM on Tuesday in order to activate Green from the Physically Unable to Perform List, but they chose to activate him yesterday. Logically, the only compelling reason to do this would be if the intention was for him to play between Saturday and Tuesday, and, as it happens, there is a game in there, today, in the evening. If they didn’t intend for him to play against Dallas, they probably would have waited until Tuesday to activate him.
So the question then becomes how he looks when he does play, and how much playing time he receives. We cannot assume that he is going to be immediately plugged into the starting lineup, given that he has only been practicing for less than three weeks with the offense, and even at that most often at less than full capacity.
Yet at the same time, the Steelers have been moving away from Jesse James as the featured tight end, so the timing is appropriate for Green to immediately find a role for himself. particularly lacking from the position this year has been a consistently dangerous receiving threat, if you look as James’ yards per reception total. That is where Green should be able to have an immediate impact.
But how will they use him initially? Will they basically line him up as a glorified wide receiver in his first game, scaling back potential blocking responsibilities? The injuries at the wide receiver position would also lend itself to taking that course of action.
The Steelers did not waive Xavier Grimble in order to make room for Green, yet at the same time, Green is probably going to be taking over a lot of those roles that Grimble executed, namely as an in-line blocker and, lately, as the receiving option in the no-huddle. So that will be something to pay attention to as well.