Dec 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) is helped off of the field after being injured against the Cincinnati Bengals during the second half of the game at Heinz Field. The Bengals won the game, 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
Earlier today, Alan Robinson of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that Heath Miller is expected to miss the first month of the 2013 regular season. As saddened as I am about the news, I for one am not shocked by it. In fact, I figured that Miller was sure to miss at least some time this fall after he sustained his gruesome knee injury back in Week 16 of last year.
Whether or not the Steelers will eventually place Miller on the PUP list or 53-man roster is still a mystery at this point though, and it will likely be decided on during the final week of the preseason. I will say that extended absence of one of Pittsburgh’s best offensive weapons will be an enormous blow to the unit while they try to build momentum during the month of September.
As I alluded to earlier in the week, the onus for red zone production will now be placed squarely on fullback Will Johnson and tight end David Paulson as those two try to chip in more with Miller sidelined. Although they will likely not replace Heath in the statistical aggregate, they have to be able to find ways to get open and fight for tough yards inside their opponents’ twenties for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
All the Steelers can do now though is play the “waiting game” with their two-time “Pro Bowler” while he continues to work his way back onto the field. If Pittsburgh’s offense can weather the storm with Miller sidelined however, then their offense will receive a huge boost from his return at some point later this fall.
I know that the Pittsburgh’s offense generating a large amount of success with Miller sidelined is a bit of wishful thinking, but it is what Roethlisberger & Co. must do until Heath is finally healthy enough to contribute during the 2013 campaign.
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