Steelers Vs Dolphins X Factor: Eli Rogers

I know we wrote about him yesterday but I can’t stress enough how important Eli Rogers is to tomorrow’s game. That was my initial thought as soon as I saw Ladarius Green was all but ruled out, at least, after why why why.

I don’t expect the Miami Dolphins to have a radically different scheme this time around. Play two high, take away the Pittsburgh Steelers’ best weapon – Antonio Brown – and force the other guys to step up. Would rather get beat by Cobi Hamilton or Sammie Coates than the league’s best wide receiver. That’s where Rogers has to step up. He’ll be in the slot the whole game, looking to exploit the middle of the field, and beat slot corner Bobby McCain.

It’s not just the matchup or the scheme. It’s the talent and Rogers has been on the rise during the winning streak. It was a tough start of the year for him, struggling to make contested catches, get yards after catch, and generally earn Ben Roethlisberger’s trust.

Trust from Ben is something Todd Haley said was more important than Haley’s own personal trust in him. And that’s the plain truth.

While the production has risen over the back half of the year, the combination of performances against the Cincinnati Bengals and Baltimore Ravens, the second time around, altered his whole season. A clutch performance against the Bengals, catching the game-winning touchdown and then, even more importantly, to me, the diving reception on the final drive against the Ravens.

You know the one. That’s right up there with Brown’s touchdown, in my book. Without Rogers, there is no Brown stretch. And maybe the Steelers don’t win the game. And we’re probably not having this conversation. We’re talking about how right Terry Bradshaw is and who the Steelers should draft in April. No fun.

If Rogers can have success, the Dolphins may adjust their coverage and play more single high looks. That will open AB back up, let him put in work, and make this offense hum. And get the Steelers to Arrowhead.

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