Tight End Ladarius Green has some major shoes to fill following the retirement of fan favorite and all-time great Heath Miller.
Heath Miller was the greatest tight end in Steelers history. He was a fan favorite, and one of the most reliable members of the Pittsburgh offense throughout the Roethlisberger era.
Everyone loved Heath Miller. From the fans in the crowd celebrating his every catch with the trademark chant, to the quarterback that praised him constantly for his presence on the field, and important role in the team’s success. He’s not a player that will be forgotten in the lore of Steelers history, and being the guy having to replace him is a hard job.
With that being said, Ladarius Green may be the perfect man for the job. The signing of Green was the biggest signing the Steelers have made in years, and at first glance it seems like a simple replacement but at a closer look, this move brings a whole new dynamic to the Steelers prolific offense.
Heath Miller was reliable. He was consistent, and he was a sure fire guy that could make the necessary plays, but he lacked one attribute that Green brings to the table; speed.
Speed is a rare asset to the normal tight end. With the rise of the pass catching tight end, speed has become more important, but still, teams value the blocking aspect more, the intention the position brings to the table.
Sitting behind future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates for the first few years of his career, he has gained plenty of experience, and was able to get plenty of snaps last season with Gates sidelined, displaying plenty of potential.
With Martavis Bryant suspended, having another player who can challenge coverage with abnormal speed, and a stout 6’6″ frame is great. Finding someone that tall with that much speed is truly rare. Todd Haley must be licking his chops thinking of what he can do with such a rare talent, and Ben Roethlisberger should be equally excited to have that guy as a target of his.
I’m not saying that the absence of Martavis Bryant will go unnoticed, but the signing of Green definitely does help to bring some relief. Also remember the offense will welcome back Le’Veon Bell, a healthy Ben Roethlisberger, and Maurkice Pouncey.
People have been looking to Markus Wheaton and Sammie Coates to be the guy to step up and help the offense reach its expectations, but don’t be surprised if Green is another guy who steps up, and gives the Steelers a dimension we haven’t seen.
Ladarius Green is not Heath Miller. Green is something totally different, and while we might not entirely know what that is yet, it’s something to be excited about.