OC Canada Discusses McCloud Getting More Usage

Ray-Ray McCloud saw a season-high in offensive snaps in Week 10. For the season, McCloud has played 38% of the Steelers’ snaps.

Against the Lions, that number rose to 70%. As a result, he also saw a career high in targets and receptions with 12 and nine. The uptick in production is due to a multitude of reasons, as OC Matt Canada pointed out Thursday.

“Obviously coverage dictates where the ball goes,” Canada said via media released by the team. “He had more opportunities because with Chase [Claypool] being down, James [Washington] went outside and Ray went inside.”

Canada would know more than any of us and he’s certainly right. On one hand, the Steelers wide receiver room is a bit depleted with injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster and more recently, Chase Claypool. That has increased his snap count and in turn, increased his target share.

The Steelers’ two quarterbacks aren’t particularly deep ball specialists either, which benefits McCloud in the underneath routes. The Lions’ defense made Mason Rudolph try and beat them deep, leaving several opportunities for McCloud.

“He made some good plays. He made some plays that were very important in the game. I was happy for him individually that he was able to have some success.”

McCloud’s nine catches went for 63 yards, just seven yards per catch. While he hasn’t had the same impact in the return game this season, McCloud has shown improvements in the pass game.

It’s still up in the air when Claypool will return from injury, as that’s the biggest factor in McCloud’s playing time. Claypool has played a bit in the slot since Smith-Schuster went down for the season. As a result, Claypool, Johnson, and Washington seem to be the wideout trio, with McCloud being fourth.

His development has been crucial with said injuries, and he’ll likely see around the same amount of snaps until Claypool returns. We’ll see just what the Chargers’ defense dictates Sunday night against the Steelers’ wide receiving corp.

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