The Pittsburgh Steelers are heavy favorites, 14 points to be exact, in their Week 8 game vs. the Miami Dolphins at Heinz Field on Monday Night Football. While most black-and-gold fans have almost started looking ahead to Week 9, there are some players on Miami’s squad who aren’t in the “Tank for Tua” mode.
I wanted to find out who some of those players were, and when I was able to ask Kevin Nogle, The Phinsider’s managing editor, some questions leading up to the game I asked for one player no one was talking about, but could impact the game.
His answer? Tight End Mike Gesicki...
Mike Gesicki will be interesting to watch. After a slow rookie season - which is not unusual for tight ends but had fans calling him a bust - he is starting to show up now. Coming into the league, the knock on him was his inability to block. What did Adam Gase ask him to do last year? Block. And block. And block. Now, under Brian Flores and Chad O’Shea, they are starting to use him up the seam and he is making some good catches. He is not dominating yet, and he is not the redzone target you would want him to be yet, but he is starting to show up and that is a great start.
Why should this news scare Steelers fans? For the simple reason the defense has continued to struggle covering tight ends for the majority of this season. Whether it was Hunter Henry of the Chargers in Week 6, or any number of players in recent memory who have roamed the middle of the field untouched, the Steelers will have to learn to slow down the tight ends down the seam.
When you look at it this way, it isn’t so much about Gesicki, but about the Steelers defending the play. Devin Bush, who is slowly getting comfortable within the Steelers’ system, is the man who will typically be tasked with stopping that play, but don’t think the safeties don’t have a role in it too.
Minkah Fitzpatrick and Terrell Edmunds being cognizant of the design, and being there as the over the top presence will be key for the Steelers to not just slow down Gesicki, but turning the tight end from the defense’s kryptonite, into just another weapon they take away from the opposition.
If you were to think of a Steelers player no one is talking about, at any position, who could make a big impact on the upcoming prime time game, who would it be? Let us know in the comment section below, and be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they gear up for the Dolphins in Week 8.