In Week 5 the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense was looking for consistency across the board. With the desire to get back to the running game, and a more balanced approach to their offense, running the football and not falling behind early were paramount.
When the Steelers wanted to run the football, they did so with one of their favorite formations, the two tight end set. Since Vance McDonald has returned to normal action, he and Jesse James have been used with great frequency. Without getting into the logistics of the formation, it gives the offense a tremendous amount of options. The run, and the pass are readily available every time the ball is snapped.
Taking a look at total snap counts, the Steelers’ used both McDonald (37 snaps for 61%) and James (36 for 59%) a great deal to help add more blockers for James Conner as he tallied another 100 yard game with two rushing touchdowns.
In fact, the Steelers were even able to get their third tight end, Xavier Grimble, into the mix by playing 10 total snaps in the game.
The Steelers have always valued the tight end position, especially players who both run and block well, and there is a clear difference between Conner’s performance on the ground when the team deploys these offensive sets, compared to the alternative.
I am very confident the Steelers will utilize this same offensive approach vs. the Bengals in Week 6 to help neutralize their pass rush, yet also give them options to exploit the middle of the field and let their playmakers find space along the perimeter.
Here are some more nuggets from the past week’s Snap Totals:
- Some talked about Roosevelt Nix’s play in the offense, but it might have just been a mirage. Nix played just 8 snaps on offense vs. the Falcons.
- After Ryan Switzer was used frequently vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Week 3 win, his playing time on offense has decreased over the next three weeks. Against the Falcons he registered just 4 snaps.
- James Washington has continued to see a great deal of snaps as the team’s No. 3 receiver (35 in total on Sunday), yet hasn’t made an impact. The Steelers will need him to start making plays to really open up the offense.
- Could we be seeing the making of the Steelers’ future safety tandem for years to come? For the second straight game, both Terrell Edmunds and Sean Davis have played in 100% of defensive snaps. This week it was a total of 72.
- Mike Hilton’s presence was felt on the field in a big way, likely because he played a lot. The Steelers used a large number of sub packages against the Atlanta offense, and Hilton made his 55 snaps (76%) count.
- The ILB rotation between L.J. Fort and Tyler Matakevich was not as evenly split as most thought after the game. Matakevich registered 41 snaps, with Fort just 27.
- The Artie Burns and Coty Sensabaugh rotation continues, not sure why the coaching staff feels rotating is better than sticking with one player, but Burns notched 41 snaps to Sensabaugh’s 31.
Check out the complete snap totals in the chart below, and if you can’t see the chart due to being on a mobile device, CLICK HERE to find those numbers.