With Matt Spaeth cut from the team, and Steelers legend Heath Miller retired, the opportunities for 2nd year tight end Jesse James are endless, and he could definitely be a surprise impact to an already potent offense.
The Pittsburgh Steelers made a somewhat surprising cut this morning when they released veteran tight end Matt Spaeth. Spaeth was by no means a star for Pittsburgh, but performed admirably at times, and gave the Steelers a great blocker and sometimes pass catcher that opponents never expected.
Unfortunately, following his injury last season, he was unable to recover, and with younger options, the Steelers decided to move on. Additionally, the Steelers signed free agent Ladarius Green from the San Diego Chargers.
Green is the presumed starter for Pittsburgh this year, filling the enormous shoes of fan favorite Heath Miller. Green has the speed and frame to be a big-time target, but if the Steelers offense runs two tight end packages more often, James will see ample opportunity to produce.
Now, I’m not suggesting that James is going to become a superstar overnight by any means. Last season, James accounted for only 8 receptions and 56 yards, so there isn’t much to go off of, but his role on the team will likely increase, and production should follow.
Coming out of college, he was actually referred to as a replacement for Matt Spaeth. He has the blocking capability, and the size similar to Spaeth, but one would have to say that he has more potential. He was also said to not be a pass catching tight end, but he proved that he’s at least capable from the few he made last year.
On a star studded offense consisting of Roethlisberger, Brown, Bell, Pouncey, Wheaton, and Green, players like James will often be overlooked. But sometimes, it’s the players that are overlooked that can make the game changing plays.
James is the player on that offense that opposing defenses would least expect to be making big plays, which could potentially make him dangerous. His play last year showed flashes of excellence, but in the end, he was a rookie, and fans can’t expect much out of rookies, and a 5th round one no less.
Don’t expect him to become a star overnight, and don’t expect him to be the first target Ben looks to with the stars that make up the best offense in the league. Expect Jesse James to fill into a role, and perform as he’s expected to, which is all the Steelers need from him.