Tomlin on the Steelers’ wide recievers: “There’s a fine line between being a Pro Bowler and a special teamer”

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Head Coach Mike Tomlin is less concerened about the depth chart and more concerned about production

Head coach Mike Tomlin spoke to the Pittsburgh media on Wednesday before the team headed into their bye week. After addressing injury updates and the quarterback situation, Coach Tomlin then took several questions. Tomlin was asked how important it is for the Steelers to establish a number two receiver to complement JuJu Smith-Schuster.

“It’s important for those guys to make plays when called upon,” Tomlin answered. “Who you designate as number two, number three, number four, all of those guys are ones in their mind. They need to be. This is professional football. There’s a fine line between being a Pro Bowler and the special teamer. From a mentality standpoint, I want all those guys to be ready when called upon. Really, that’s what’s important. How you choose to identify them is less important.”

Although it can be tied to the unfortunate but necessary switching when it comes to the quarterback position, the Steelers receiving numbers for 2019 are a fraction of what they were last season. JuJu Smith-Schuster currently leads the Steelers in receiving with 340 yards which puts him on pace for just over 900 yards on the season. In 2018, Smith-Schuster was leading the team in receiving through six games with 561 yards.

Another troubling statistics compared to last season is the player who is second on the team in receiving yards: James Conner. Through six games, Conner has almost identical receiving yards to last season with just 26 more at this point last season. But in 2018 he ranked fifth on the Steelers through the teams first six games as compared to second in 2019.

With Conner being the second biggest receiving threat so far for the Steelers in 2019, many are looking for someone else to step up to complement Smith-Schuster down the stretch. Coach Tomlin was asked if JuJu and Diontae Johnson could be the Steelers’ next generation of a solid wide receiver tandem.

“They need to be,” Tomlin replied. “And others. We don’t care where the plays come to be quite honest with you. Again, we’re not in style-point mode. We’re not even in personality mode. We just need to do what’s required to move the chains, to ring up the scoreboard, to score one more point than our opponent in an effort to win football games.”

When the Steelers come off of there bye after Week 7 of the NFL season, they will be looking to find a stable identity for 2019. Mason Rudolph will be in line to start his fourth game at quarterback after missing Week 6 with a concussion. As the young QB gains more experience, the desired outcome is more of a connection with his young wide receivers.

While better receiving numbers is a desirable statistic, it all comes secondary to putting tallies in the win column. Yes, a greater output from the Steelers receiving corps can help lead to more victories. Whether it’s through the air, on the ground, or with a stifling defense, ultimately the Steelers’ need to start stacking wins any way they can get them.

3 games to watch in Week 7 which give perspective on the Steelers future opponents

Seattle Seahawks v Pittsburgh SteelersPhoto by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

There are several NFL games this week which will help shape the perception of teams the Steelers take on later in 2019

With the Pittsburgh Steelers on bye this week, fans of the choice to either take a break from NFL football altogether or turn their attention to other games. As many look to see what else is going on around the NFL, there are a few matchups between two teams the Steelers have either faced previously or teams remaining on their schedule.

For Week 7, here are the three games which could give the most perspective on what the Steelers can expect with some of their future opponents:

Seattle Seahawks at Baltimore Ravens

Sunday at 4:25 PM on FOX

This is by far the biggest game Steeler fans should pay attention to this Sunday. With Pittsburgh falling to Seattle in Week 2, the best case scenario is for all the AFC North teams to fall to the Seahawks as well. So far Seattle is 3–0 against the AFC North with the Ravens being the final matchup for Seattle in 2019.

Obviously, Steelers fans will be cheering hard-core for the Seahawks in this one. Normally I would say playing in Seattle would be an advantage, but with the Seahawks only beating the Bengals and the Rams each by one point and falling at home to the Saints in their only loss of the season, it doesn’t seem to be the same massive advantage it has in the past. But Baltimore has never won in Seattle, so it should make for an interesting game.

Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills

Sunday 1:00 PM on CBS

Did you have this game circled on the calendar to watch during the bye? Me neither. The Miami Dolphins are just as bad, if not worse than they were projected before the season began. But the Buffalo Bills have been a pleasant surprise with their only loss coming to the New England Patriots.

I’m not really sure what anyone can take away from this game. If the Dolphins pull off the upset, it might mean a larger task is in store for the Steelers their next game. If the Bills handle Miami, they will still be the best team remaining on the Steelers schedule record-wise.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

Monday at 8:15 PM on ESPN

This may be the second of these three games which could very well be a blowout. The Jets only have one win on the season, but it was against the Dallas Cowboys last week. With Sam Darnold returning to the starting lineup after being out with mono, facing the Patriots can show if the Jets are a legitimate contender to make a run throughout the middle of the season. If not, their game against the Cowboys may have showed more about their opponent than it did themselves.

So there are the three main matchups which can give Steeler fans an indication as to the quality of upcoming opponents in 2019. While each week is a different game and upsets due to certain matchups are bound to happen, the greater the body of work each team puts on the field can help to draw better conclusions.

So which of these games will be the most telling as it pertains to the 2019 Pittsburgh Steelers? Make sure you vote in the poll and give your thoughts in the comments below.