The Pittsburgh Steelers are back at work this week after a much-needed week off. With the week off, there are not any major or surprising stock movements within the team but a few notable updates as the Steelers prepare for the Cleveland Browns.
HC Mike Tomlin – Stock Up
In his weekly press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin stated that he spent his week off not only evaluating the Steelers’ scheme but also trends around the league. Considering Tomlin’s impressive record following the bye week, this should be music to the ears of Steelers’ fans. Tomlin carries a 7-4 record following the bye week and in general, his football team has played their best football late in the season. In games 7-16, the Steelers under Tomlin hold a 74-36 record, second best in the NFL dating back to 2007.
S Morgan Burnett – Stock Plummeting
With every week that safety Morgan Burnett misses with a groin injury, his stock continues to plummet. In fact, we may be at the point where his stock can get no lower. Since signing a three-year, $14.3 million-dollar contract in the offseason, Burnett has played just two games and possibly lost his starting job to rookie safety Terrell Edmunds. Burnett returned to practice this week but his involvement in Sunday’s game plan remains to be seen. Rubbing salt on the wound is the fact that the man Burnett was aiming to replace, Mike Mitchell, has just won AFC Defensive Player of the Week. Since signing with the Indianapolis Colts, Mitchell has performed exceptionally well while Burnett has had to watch from the doctor’s office.
MLB Vince Williams – Stock Up
Linebacker Vince Williams missed the Steelers’ week five matchup against the Atlanta Falcons but returned back to form against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday. Williams recorded seven tackles and notched his first sack of the season. Heading into the second half of the season, Williams’ 36 tackles only trails linebacker Jon Bostic, though Bostic has a game in hand on him.
WR James Washington – Stock Down
After recording seven receptions for 158 yards in the pre-season, many expected rookie receiver James Washington to take the number three receiver role and run with it. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. In limited action, Washington has recorded just five receptions on 14 targets for 49 yards and one touchdown. The rookie receiver has failed to record a reception over the last two games and his 35.7 catch percentage leaves a lot to be desired. While it seems like the bar had been set unreasonably high for Washington, the rookie receiver is proving to be rawer than previously thought.
WR Justin Hunter – Stock Up
As a direct result of Washington’s stock dropping, veteran wide receiver Justin Hunter has seen his stock slightly increase in value. Though the veteran wide receiver has recorded just one reception this season and five total receptions in his last two years, Hunter has been on the field when it matters the most. Hunter replaced Washington during the Steelers’ last two drives in Cincinnati, showing that when it comes to crunch time, the team would rather see the veteran receiver over the rookie in action. This was further backed up earlier this week as Roethlisberger publicly vouched for Hunter to see more of the field.