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2018 Week 2 Offensive Charting Notes

The Pittsburgh Steelers are two games into the regular season now, which means that more trends are beginning to form with regards to what the offense will look like under new offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner…at least based on what they currently have available to them.

  • Personnel groupings:
    • 01: 7/84 (8.3%)
    • 11: 68/84 (81.0%)
    • 12: 5/84 (6.0%)
    • 22: 2/84 (2.4%)
    • 23: 2/84 (2.4%)
  • It’s no surprise to see the Steelers so overwhelmingly, expansively make use of three-receiver sets, considering that they are in a 21-0 hole by the end of the first quarter. If you include four-receiver sets, they utilized at least three wide receivers on the field nearly 90 percent of the time. That is the highest of any game that I have charted over the past few years.
  • As was the case last week, the team did make fairly decent use of the 01 package—that is, four wide receivers and a tight end—in Sunday’s game. This is in contrast to last season, where they ran it several times in the opener, a bit in the second game, and then largely abandoned it.
  • This time, as I wrote about earlier today, they actually nearly committed a drive to running the package, as though to test out its efficacy, running it on six consecutive plays (and seven in total for the game). They gained two first downs and gained a second and one prior to an incomplete deep shot down the field prompted them to change the formation in a third-and-short situation.
  • That is where Ryan Switzer saw most of his playing time on offense, but he did give James Washington some breaks in three-receiver sets. There was even a three-play sequence in the first quarter in which he was used over the rookie.
  • The Steelers mixed and matched Jesse James and Vance McDonald a lot throughout the game, not necessarily with any clear pattern. While James was used during the two-minute drill in the first half, McDonald got the end-of-game snaps.
  • The team did not use play action as much this week: just six times. They were, however, successful running it, with five completions for 54 yards and four first downs, including the two-yard touchdown pass to JuJu Smith-Schuster.
  • While he had a big day, James could have had an even bigger one. He had two catchable targets in the end zone on the day that he failed to catch, but both of them were wiped out due to defensive penalties anyway. Both of them came on first and goal, and the team eventually scored.
  • Average depth of target: 8.62 (66 targets; 60 official)
    • Vance McDonald: 6 (5 targets)
    • Antonio Brown: 10.8 (18 targets; 17 official)
    • Jesse James: 11.6 (7 targets; 5 official)
    • Roosevelt Nix: -1 (1 target)
    • James Conner: 1.8 (6 targets; 5 official)
    • Stevan Ridley: 4 (1 target)
    • JuJu SmithSchuster: 5.5 (19 targets)
    • James Washington: 19.1 (7 targets; 5 official)
    • Ryan Switzer: 5.5 (2 targets)
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