Coming off of a career night against the Seattle Seahawks in primetime on Sunday Night Football at Heinz Field, Pittsburgh Steelers’ rookie tight end Pat Freiermuth was the talk of the town after finally being used more in the Steelers’ offense.
Though his seven catches for 58 yards weren’t eye-popping, it was a very Heath Miller-like performance from the Penn State product, who caught all seven targets and moved the chains on third down on a handful of catches. Freiermuth really helped fill the money-down void of JuJu Smith-Schuster, who is out for the year with a shoulder injury.
Heading into the Sunday Night Football showdown with the Seahawks, plenty of questions were asked about Freiermuth’s usage and overall role in the offense, especially in the passing game. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said that he had to do a better job of getting the rookie involved in the passing game, especially after the two appeared to be creating great chemistry in training camp and the preseason.
Following Sunday’s performance, expect the pairing to produce even more, especially with Freiermuth stating he has more of an understanding of what the future first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback is looking for on routes and plays in general.
“We have a lot…of understanding of what he thinks that we should do on a route or what we see and, just kind of like that back and forth conversations,” Freiermuth said during his media availability prior to the bye week, according to Steelers.com. “You know, so understanding where we’re going to be in the route game and even the run game.”
That understanding and that developed chemistry between the pair is something the rookie believes is very valuable to have so early in his career, especially with a quarterback that has the resume of Roethlisberger’s
“It’s very valuable,” Freiermuth added. “Just having a quarterback that’s been in the league as long as he has and, you know, just learning from a future Hall of Famer and understanding what he sees in the game and what I can implement that into my game.”
With Smith-Schuster lost for the year and Freiermuth taking on more of a role in the Steelers’ offense, getting clear TE1 work ahead of Eric Ebron, that better understanding and overall chemistry developed with Roethlisberger should allow the Steelers’ offense to have that viable third-down option in the middle of the field, creating more production out of the rookie in the passing game overall, which is a win-win for the Steelers’ offense overall.