Throughout the season following each game I will be taking a look at the rookies and how they fared each week. This will consist of thoughts such as the positive and negatives from that game, areas to watch or work on and clips to support what I’m sharing. Hopefully, this will shed some insight on some things you may or may not have seen.
Week 4 – Green Bay Packers
Najee Harris (Round 1) – 48 offensive snaps, 15 carries, 62 yards, seven targets, six receptions, 29 yards
After being used on at least 95 percent of the snaps in the first three games, the Steelers cut his snaps back to 80% in week 4. He still got 21 touches so less usage could help to keep him fresher late in the games.
The ground game showed some life this week and there were several plays where if there was just a second more of sustained blocks would have led to better gains. Harris showed good vision and mental processing when choosing his gaps and displays good acceleration and crisp lateral cuts.
In the pass game his routes included flat, screen, swing and stop and he produced more yards after the catch than his actual receiving yards. His receptions came on a stop route lined up wide, swing and screens from the backfield as well as check downs late in the game. In pass protection, there was a rep where he dropped his head and the man he was supposed to block deflected the throw. He had a nice chip later in the game to help Dan Moore.
Two clips here for Harris. First play I liked his decisiveness and crispness on the two cuts. The second clip shows him duck his head in pass pro allowing the defender to deflect the pass.
Pat Freiermuth (Round 2) – 32 offensive snaps, three special team snap, one target, one reception, 11 yards
Through four games Freiermuth’s offensive snap count has fallen between 29 and 33 snaps each week. His route tree in this game was very limited being used in the flat, curl, drive and corner routes and he ran the same in breaking route half a dozen times. He was also open on the fourth down pass that was thrown to Harris. He caught his only target and looked slow getting into his routes. He needs to work on the explosiveness early in the route and out of the break.
In pass protection he whiffed on the first miss up the seam to Juju Smith-Schuster and looked tentative as a blocker overall. He was used to lead through the hole and on slide blocks but lacked aggression at the point of attack. He did look solid on an early short yardage run. I would like to see more leg drive and aggressiveness going forward to try to move players off their spot.
Kendrick Green (Round 3) – 60 offensive snaps
Green had his ups and downs again as every rookie does. In pass protection he struggled with his anchor again getting bowled over early but showed improvement as the game progressed. I had him down for being driven back to the quarterback twice and would benefit from a quicker punch to not allow the defenders hands to his chest. He had an excellent rep on the screen to Harris executing 1st and 2nd level blocks well.
The use of RPO’s led to better blocking for Green usually calling him to down block but he was too shallow a couple times aiming for the outside shoulder of the defender when he should be inside. He had a few good double team blocks with his guards but did get much movement one on one. He could use some improvement with his hand strength and lateral movement to stay engaged with the defenders. Overall, he was a little better this week.
Two clips for Green. The first play is a nicely executed double team with Dotson where they drive back the defensive tackle and take out the linebacker as well. The second play is the screen to Harris. Green will shove the defensive tackle to his left and then get to the second level and lock up the linebacker.
Dan Moore (Round 4) – 60 offensive snaps, three special teams snaps
Four games in and Moore has played every snap much like his predecessor did in past years. He showed good hand usage early in the game using single and double chops to keep pass rushers off balance. His footwork out of his stance was really smooth and he handled inside rushes well. Moore’s issues happen when he engages late with the pass rusher. If he gets his hands on them quickly, he can win the rep. He gets in trouble when he lets the rusher get deep and bull rushes him deep in the pocket. I counted seven times he was in the quarterbacks lap.
As a run blocker, he was good on the backside of blocks hinging to wall of defenders and looked solid in a one on one situation on the draw. He and Kevin Dotson were solid on their double team blocks but should get more push and like Green, Moore looked more effective on the RPO blocks.
Isaiahh Loudermilk (Round 5) – 17 special teams snaps, four special team snaps, one pass defensed
Loudermilk got a solid amount of work playing on 24% of the snaps and played mostly on the interior at the 3 or 4i tech positions. His up field burst looked a little better on 3rd down but overall was still too slow. His best reps came against the center using a nice club on one rep but need to add a rip or swim to it to be effective. He also had a solid bull rush later in the game.
Against the run he uses his hands well to keep blockers at an arm’s length had was solid with his initial lateral agility to move with the blocker but in short yardage, he gave up too much ground. He got some good experience in this game and will need to continue plaining a bigger role going forward.
Tre Norwood (Round 6) – 10 defensive snaps, 10 special team snaps
For the first time this season Norwood failed to record a tackle but most of his time was spent in coverage in the slot. All ten of his plays came on third downs and in between the twenties he was used mostly in underneath Zone or deep outside in Cover 3. In the red zone they used him more often in Man coverage and had good coverage on those reps.
Pressley Harvin III (Round 7) – six special team snaps, three punts, 34-yard average
It was a tale of three punts for Harvin this week. The first punt was solid from the Steelers nine yard line he booted it 45 yards. A solid punt. The second punt was a complete shank covering only 20 yards from their own 20 yard line that gave Green Bay a short field that was turned into a touchdown. There was a rusher coming and it looked like Harvin thought he was going to get hit and may have lost some concentration. He finished with his best situational punt hanging it 37 yards to be downed at the 5. He handled all three field goal snaps effectively.
Inactive for Week 4 – Buddy Johnson (Round 4)
Practice Squad – DL Daniel Archibong, DB Mark Gilbert, S Donovan Stiner, WR Tyler Vaughns
Reserve/Injured – WR Rico Bussey