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2020 South Side Questions: Will Diontae Johnson See Fewer Snaps In Buffalo?

The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the regular season, following the most unique offseason in the NFL since at least World War II. While it didn’t involve a player lockout, teams still did not have physical access to their players, though they were at least able to meet with them virtually.

Even training camp looked much different from the norm, and a big part of that was the fact that there will be no games along the way to prepare for. Their first football game of the year was to be the opener against the New York Giants.

As the season progresses, however, there will be a number of questions that arise on a daily basis, and we will do our best to try to raise attention to them as they come along, in an effort to both point them out and to create discussion

Questions like, how will the players who are in new positions this year going to perform? Will the rookies be able to contribute significantly? How will Ben Roethlisberger look—and the other quarterbacks as well? Now, we even have questions about whether or not players will be in quarantine.

These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.

Question: Will Diontae Johnson see fewer snaps against the Buffalo Bills after continuing to drop passes?

I haven’t checked every database around, but enough of them have Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson at or near enough to the top of the drop list to know that uh, it’s becoming a problem. He has had four or five drops just in the past two games alone, and it’s not as though the issue simply came out of nowhere.

Almost every player is going to drop a ball or two from time to time. Nobody has perfect hands seasons after season, and it’s fine if some of your top guys are going to drop some targets. It happens. Even Antonio Brown dropped some balls.

But the rate at which Johnson is putting balls on the ground lately has been proving detrimental to the Steelers’ efforts, and it finally played a role in costing them a game earlier this week. While his skill set on the field is tremendously valuable and has certainly helped them win, the dropped passes have to get under control.

Head coach Mike Tomlin suggested, when asked, that guys who drop passes can expect to see fewer opportunities to drop passes in the future. We don’t know how literally to take this, but after James Washington played more and made a couple of significant plays, perhaps we see him play a bit in Johnson’s place. Against Washington, he took snaps away from Chase Claypool, who is having his own issues.

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