The Pittsburgh Steelers still have a little while to wait until they find out if wide receiver Martavis Bryant will be reinstated for the 2017 season after sitting out the entire 2016 season due to a suspension for multiple violations of the league’s substance abuse policy. On Wednesday, Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was asked during his press conference at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis about how he feels not having Bryant last season hurt the offense.
“Martavis was a great asset to us when he was available,” Colbert said. “Actually, I’m limited in speaking to him because he is currently still on suspension from the league, not just from the Steelers, but anytime you lose a great player that’s helped you in the past and you dont have him, you have to find other ways. And actually, as a team, we were more successful. You could argue, offensively, maybe we weren’t in certain areas, but as a team, we actually progressed further than we did in 2015.”
Sure, the Steelers did progress further into the playoffs last season than they did in 2015. Even so, the Steelers offense certainly did miss the big-play ability of Bryant last season and especially after fellow wide receiver Sammie Coates suffered his injuries in Week 5.
From the moment Coates got injured, the Steelers quarterbacks completed just 37 deep passes during the team’s remaining 11 games with 29 of those being caught by wide receivers. In fact, Antonio Brown was the only Steelers wide receiver to register double-digit deep pass receptions last season.
Did the Steelers offense survive without Bryant? Sure they did, but having Bryant on the field last season probably would’ve helped tremendously and especially during the playoffs as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger only completed four deep pass attempts in the team’s three postseason games.
Bryant has already applied for reinstatement and one would think we’ll find out prior to the draft if he’ll be allowed to resume his career. Even if that happens, there’s probably still a good chance the Steelers select another deep threat wide receiver at some point during the 2017 NFL Draft in order to protect themselves from another future Bryant suspension.