With a lengthy list of offensive talent, both the organization and fanbase are holding the expectation that the 2017 edition of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense will be able to hold their own against the best the NFL has to offer. While you would come to expect greatness from an offense featuring Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown, there is one more familiar name that many are anxiously hoping could be the final piece to the puzzle – Martavis Bryant.
After spending all of last season away from football due to a suspension, Bryant is ready to put the past behind him and make his presence known on the field. A home run threat, Bryant is not shy when it comes to announcing his presence on the football field. Skim through any story linking Bryant’s return to the Steelers and guaranteed you will run into a bit that mentions how the Steelers’ receiver has caught 14 receiving touchdowns in just 21 games. Incredible, right? There’s no doubting that the Steelers could have used Bryant’s home run ability last season. But while Bryant has the ability to change the game with one play at any moment, he has struggled with the ability to consistently take over a game.
Bryant has recorded two receptions or less in seven of his total 21 regular season contests. Snowballing on, Bryant also has nine games with a catch percentage under 50-percent and 13 games with under 50 receiving yards. And while Bryant has recorded over 100 receiving yards in 5 regular season contests, he has struggled to follow up – averaging just 5 receptions and 41 receiving yards in the games that follow a 100-yard performance.
While Bryant has been the big play slugger early in his career, playing behind the likes of Bell and Brown, the team is counting on him to not to take a bigger step per say but a much more consistent step. Perhaps a daunting task for a receiver who has spent the last year out of football but there’s no reason to believe that Bryant cannot rise to the occasion. After all, this is the same receiver who drew comparisons to legendary wide receiver Randy Moss.
For Bryant, the task is as simple as continuing where he left off, as the last time anyone saw the Steelers’ receiver in action was back in early 2016 where he recorded 9 receptions and 194 yards from scrimmage against the Denver Broncos. This breakout performance was single handily crafted by Bryant as the team did not have the services of Brown, Bell or a 100-percent Roethlisberger for this occasion.
The good news? Barring injury, Bryant is in line to play alongside Brown, Bell and Roethlisberger this season – a rare eclipse-like event for the offense.
The even better news? Bryant is more focused on football than ever before. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at Bryant’s Instagram. With a newly found mindset and work ethic, Bryant is equipped to take the next step into becoming a much more consistent player in the Steelers’ offense this season.