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2022 Stock Watch – TE Pat Freiermuth – Stock Up

Now that training camp is over with the Pittsburgh Steelers back in Pittsburgh and gearing up for what they hope will be a much more productive season, it’s time to take stock of where the team stands. Specifically, where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of training camp and the preseason and the regular season as it plays out. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning for each one. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.

Player: TE Pat Freiermuth

Stock Value: Up

Reasoning: Despite being sparsely used as a receiving option until late in the game, Pat Freiermuth made big plays when he was targeted, something that the Steelers had been looking from him, and he served as an integral element of their pass protection throughout the game prior to that in working to eliminate Myles Garrett. He also did well as a run blocker, particularly when being allowed on the move.

It’s hard sometimes to really assess the performance of a blocker without going through the tape because what they’re being asked to do is not going to stand out immediately unless something goes remarkably wrong or it just so happens to occur right in front of the action.

That goes for tight ends whose job includes blocking responsibilities to a significant degree. Steelers tight end Pat Freiermuth was asked even a bit more than usual to be a part of those blocking responsibilities on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns, and I believe he held up pretty well, particularly as a zone run blocker when allowed to be on the move.

It is worth noting that Freiermuth himself said this offseason what one of the areas he wanted to target for improvement was his in-line blocking, and admittedly, when asked to carry out such assignments, he’s still a bit hit or miss.

But he also wanted to make more plays down the field, and he is doing that this year. He caught two passes down the field on Thursday, including a particularly tough grab up and over traffic down the seam, and at a critical moment in the game.

This was after a game on Sunday during which Freiermuth didn’t appear quite as typically sure-handed as has come to be expected from him, so that in itself was good to see. And he also showed good situational awareness after making the catch in trying to hasten to the next play being run.

The Steelers still need to come together and reorganize this offense and figure out exactly what it is and what works. Once they do, Freiermuth is going to be a bigger part of that.

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