Steelers depth chart: Digging into Heath Miller's recent comments

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sport

Steelers tight end Heath Miller gave a standard quote recently, saying the team is in good hands during his absence. There's only one player who has the experience at that position and track record of success, and that's Miller.

Steelers tight end Heath Miller send shockwaves through the story-less media world last week when he declared the tight end position, without him, is in good shape.

Obviously.

While it would have been more entertaining for the typically dull-edged Miller to have said "they're screwed without me," no one, not even Miller, would have seen it coming. As it is, it's a fairly standard response.

How correct is he?

Basically, no tight end in the game would be able to step in and immediately fill Miller's role, considering his experience with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his familiarity with the rest of the team. If anyone benefited from the infusion of Todd Haley's offense last year, it was Miller.

With his significant knee injury suffered at the end of last year, the Steelers tight end position may be in "capable hands," but they aren't "Miller's hands."

Or feet.

Filling in for Miller, most likely, will be veteran Matt Spaeth. The Steelers eschewed the idea of drafting a tight end, instead, banking on a smooth recovery for Miller - which they did not get from Rashard Mendenhall last year, who suffered a similar injury at a similar point in the year.

After him, second-year man David Paulson is still there, cheap contract and reasonable amount of experience considering his age. He looks like a decent prospective passing target - something Spaeth never really grew into in his six years as a pro.

The Steelers signed David Johnson, nearly one year since an ACL tear of his own in the Steelers' first preseason game of 2012.

The three of them put together might make up 80 percent of one Heath Miller.

I'm unsure if that's more of a compliment to MIller or an indictment on the depth at the position.

The particular skill level of certain players dictates the strategy of an offense. Perhaps, the situation is more like "if Miller is healthy, throw the ball to tight ends. If not, prepare them as if they'll see one pass a game."

One of the biggest questions surrounding this team will be answered by the end of training camp - if not much earlier - and that's whether Miller will start the year on the active roster (like Mendenhall last year) or the PUP list, putting him out until Week 6 of the regular season.

Here's to hoping Miller's rehab is as successful as Miller usually is blocking on a wide receiver screen.


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