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 9 – Chicago Bears
Najee Harris (Round 1) – 59 offensive snaps, 22 carries, 62 yards, 2.92 YPC, 1 TD, 3 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards, 5.33 YPR
Harris had his fifth straight game with 25 touches and he is up to 170 in 8 games (21.3 per game). The running lanes weren’t there like they had in previous weeks but Harris still found a way to find yards after contact. In fact his easiest run was the touchdown. He has a big hole and held off two would be tacklers to waltz in the end zone. His agility was on point to avoid the first tackler in the backfield and was able to find small gaps including what was one of his best runs of the year in the clip below.
In the passing game his route tree was primarily in the short area other than a go route to start the game. His receptions came on flat, sneak and shovel routes and those included 12 yards after the catch. He was open on a slant route in the red zone but was not targeted so I’d expect them to try that again at some point. In pass protection he was better chipping on the edge and showed very good awareness to pick up a looper on the long Chase Claypool reception.
Loved this run from Harris (22) after being forced to improvise after Moore allowed penetration he used a double jump cut behind the LOS before getting back to the original gap to squeeze through a small hole for a good gain.
Pat Freiermuth (Round 2) – 51 offensive snaps, 6 special team snap, 6 targets, 5 receptions, 43 yards, 8.60 YPR, 2 TD
After thirteen targets in the first 5 games, Freiermuth has 20 in the last three with 16 receptions. This was his first multiple touchdown game of his career doubling his season total. It is clear he has the trust of Ben Roethlisberger and that is great news for the offense. He made his receptions on shovel, curl, flat, fade and out routes and the last two were very impressive. He worked well on the scramble drill for his first touchdown and made another great contested catch for his second. His finally reception was picked off the top of the grass for 13 yards to set up the final winning field goal.
As a blocker he was okay when inline. The effort is solid but he needs to add strength. That’ll come in time. He was out in space as a blocker on three good gains on jet sweep/end around plays and paved the way for the runners. Total yardage on those plays was 36 yards and Freiermuth’s blocks were a major part of that.
Here is one example of Freiermuth (88) blocking in space. He is going to start out left, reverse field, get side by side Chuks Okorafor and takes out the corner for Diontae Johnson’s big gain.
Kendrick Green (Round 3) – 72 offensive snaps
Green played every snap for the fifth consecutive game but overall it was not a good game for Green. He showed active hands in pass protection and was solid on stunts and helping teammates. He really struggled versus power rushes and was even driven past the quarterback on one play. He needs to work on resetting his feet and regaining leverage rather than planting his feet and trying to stonewall defensive linemen.
As a run blocker the whole line struggled overall. He was able to do well on double team blocks and was adequate getting to the second level. On one on one blocks he struggles to sustain and mirror defenders slipping off far too often. We’re about half way through the season and he has been up and down. He needs to continue to improve on his technique and add strength in the offseason.
Dan Moore (Round 4) – 72 offensive snaps, 6 special teams snaps
Moore played every offensive snap for the seventh time this season. Things didn’t look good early on a screen pass when he stepped on Kevin Dotson’s foot, slipped to the ground and then tripped up Green. After watching the game again I think Moore played well in pass protection except for three snaps. He gave up a sack on jump/chop but learned from it and stifled that move the rest of the way. He was beat by a dip and rip that he got a holding call on but overall it was a decent showing. His anchor which was an issue early in the year was better but he faced more speed rushes than power rushes.
As a run blocker I am impressed each week by is agility. He showed power and leg drive on some inside blocks and had a really nice reach block. He does a nice job walling off on the backside and handles base blocks well.
This was the same pass rush Moore (65) was beat by earlier in the game. It was nice to see him learn from it and shut it down when it happened again.
Isaiahh Loudermilk (Round 5) – 12 defensive snaps, 2 special teams snaps
Loudermilk tallied double digit snaps for the fourth time this season and his growth week to week is promising. There no longer is hesitation in his snap quickness, he is reacting well to plays and knows his role. He was used all over the defensive line from the one to the five technique and I really liked him at the 1 technique. He showed good quickness to disrupt gaps, was stout at the point of attack and showed good play strength to engage and press the offensive lineman off of him.
As a pass rusher he didn’t have a lot of success but tried a spin move as a counter a couple times. It’s good to see him adding to his pass rush plan. He was effective as a penetrator allowing T.J. Watt to loop behind him but it was a very quick pass. Confidence is building in him.
Tre Norwood (Round 7) – 10 defensive snaps, 13 special team snaps, 1 tackle
It was a relatively quiet game for Norwood in his ten snaps. He was mostly in dime but had two nickel corner snaps as well. He was used in the short area in Zone and also had a few snaps where he rotated to the deep safety spot as well. He was used once to blitz when the Bears were in the red zone. His lone tackle came on the final drive pushing tight end Cole Kmet out of bounds. The Bears picked on Arthur Maulet in the second half of the game so I wonder if Norwood may see his snaps go up.
Presley Harvin III (Round 7) – 11 special team snaps, 5 punts, 39.2 average
Harvin had his second lowest punt average this season and his consistency is still lacking. The kick average was caused by multiple factors including punting on a short field and one bad kick. Four of his kicks were effective. The first a fair catch at the twelve on a 38 yard kick, the third was a 46 yard kick out of bounds. The third kick was 41 yards downed at the seven yard line and his final kick was a 39 kick that bounced inside the ten but there was no kick coverage behind the returner even though they had time.
The bad kick again came deep in their own zone and traveled just 32 yards. The broadcast showed that he had kicked the ground before the ball. He definitely has the leg but needs to improve when backed up on the Steelers side of the field.
Inactive for Week 9 – Buddy Johnson (Round 4)
Practice Squad – DL Daniel Archibong, S Donovan Stiner, WR Tyler Vaughns
Reserve/Injured – WR Rico Bussey