Gauging the temperature of the fanbase, I would go out on a limb and say that the re-signing of three-year veteran safety Joran Dangerfield didn’t exactly send blissful shockwaves through the greater Pittsburgh Steelers diaspora. The Towson product has been a part of the organization in one form or another since 2014, and during that time, he has racked up a whopping 205 defensive snaps.
124 of those snaps came back during his first accrued season of 2016, in which year he actually started two games. Playing in select defensive sub-packages in a heavy base with three safeties and one cornerback when he returned to the 53-man roster in 2018, he earned another 75 defensive snaps, but his playing time dropped to just six snaps last season.
That’s not why he’s here. While he would love the opportunity to play on defense, even to start, he knows what his role is, and he loves doing that as well. That would be special teams, of course, and he’s logged 852 snaps in that area over his three credited years, including over 300 snaps in each of the past two. He’s ready to make a difference in this area, an even bigger one that is, after registering about a dozen tackles and a forced fumble in 2019.
“We should have had a few more splash plays, whether it was blocking a punt, taking a punt return back, taking a kick return back. Just making that splash play to change the game”, he told Teresa Varley about the special teams unit after re-signing with the team on a one-year deal. “I feel like we should have had at least one of those plays every game. I wouldn’t say I feel satisfied, but I was happy with the job we did”.
The Steelers did have some splash plays on special teams, including a punt return touchdown, and they also recorded two takeaways, including, of all things, an interception by Trey Edmunds, a running back and the older brother of the team’s starting strong safety, Terrell Edmunds—who did not intercept a pass all year in 16 games.
Dangerfield was on the field for all of those plays and more. Not only did he force a fumble against the Indianapolis Colts (which the return team recovered), he was the other player who also hit Brandon Wilson against the Cincinnati Bengals that helped Olasunkanmi Adeniyi’s subsequent hit produce another fumble. Unfortunately, that too was recovered by the return team.
More splash in any phase of the game will always be welcome, of course. The special teams lost some of its oompf this offseason with the losses or departures of Tyler Matakevich, Jordan Dangerfield, Anthony Chickillo, Johnny Holton, and Roosevelt Nix, not to mention Sean Davis, so Dangerfield is going to be a critical piece of this puzzle in 2020.