Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have tight end Ladarius Green healthy and on the field producing, we’ve see the offense use quite a bit of two and three tight sets in the last several games. During his Thursday session with media, offensive coordinator Todd Haley was asked if it’s a challenge trying to get three tight ends involved even though all three have unique skill sets.
“No, it’s fun,” Haley said. “It’s a good challenge. Look forward to that one any time we can get it. It just gives us a dimension as much as we want to run the football to have some guys that can then make plays in the pass game, it’s a good problem to have.”
In the Steelers win last weekend over the New York Giants, Green played a season-high 35 offensive snaps and in the process had a career-game that included him catching 6 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown. Additionally, fellow tight ends Jesse James and David Johnson played 45 and 21 offensive snaps, respectively. On top of that, tackle Chris Hubbard was on the field for 18 offensive snaps as an extra blocker on the end of the line of scrimmage.
“Hub’s [Hubbard] doing a great job when we call on him to play the extra tight end,” Haley said Thursday.
So why does Haley prefer to use a tackle like Hubbard so much?
“It just gives us a bigger guy at the position,” the Steelers offensive coordinator said. “Our tight ends are doing a good job in the run game, but when you’re playing especially some of the 4-3 teams we’ve played where that end/tight end matchup is at a premium, and will decide your effectiveness a lot of times. We get Hub in there. He’s athletic, but yet he’s an offensive lineman, so we feel like at times it gives us and edge.”
Hubbard has reportedly said recently that he can catch as well as block and Haley was reminded of that on Thursday.
“We’ll see,” Haley said while laughing. “No, he’s very athletic and he’s doing a good job.”
Sunday, the Steelers will face an aggressive Buffalo Bills defense and it will be interesting to see if Haley once again attempts to combat that by using multiple tight ends in an effort to first power the running game while still having the option to pass effectively.
“It’s a Rex Ryan defense,” Haley said “They’re multiple, they’ve got guys in a lot of different spots, they always make you feel like mores coming than really is coming and especially up there in Buffalo. They crowd the line as much as possible and take advantage of the noise. So, it starts up front again. we did a good job last week against a very good front, but this one’s really good, also.”