Pittsburgh Steelers: It’s put up or shut up time for Xavier Grimble

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 25: Xavier Grimble
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 25: Xavier Grimble /

There isn’t anymore time to waste on unproductive players if you’re the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Since the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Training Camp is just around the corner. It’s time to consider position battles and roster spots. Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing this topic and, the underperforming Xavier Grimble was mentioned.

Our conversation got me to thinking that Xavier Grimble better be very concerned about keeping his job. I hope he spent his offseason wisely, because year three makes it time for him to put up or shut up.

I have never understood why a man so talented doesn’t play more. Is he lazy? Does he lack heart? Is he not cerebral enough? I don’t know the answers to these questions. But, I do know that Grimble better be honest with himself when he is looking in the mirror.

Xavier Grimble was an All American TE coming out of high school. But, in three years at the University of Southern California, he produced only mediocre stats: 69 receptions for 731 yards, 13 TDs, at 10.4 yards per catch. On a pass happy team like the Trojans, he should have produced similar numbers annually.

He went undrafted in 2014 and bounced around the Giants, 49ers and Patriots practice squads. Before the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him in September 2016. Over the past two seasons, as the third string TE he has continued to underachieve. Totaling 16 receptions for 150 yards, 3 TDs, at 9.4 yards per catch.

How does a player with a prototypical TE body (6′ 4”, 261 Ibs.), decent speed and great hands do so little? In fact, his 2016 stats more than double last year’s numbers. Shouldn’t his numbers be ascending, not descending?

According to RotoWorld, of the 176 snaps Grimble played last year, 63% of the time he just blocked. What? Makes no sense with his skill set.

By all accounts, he is a reliable receiver who is difficult to tackle. He also has enough speed to be a solid intermediate level threat. So, why isn’t he Ben Roethlisberger’s second or third option? Especially, in the red zone.

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It just perplexes me that this guy consistently underperforms. Will he have the right mindset for Training Camp? Will he have prepared for Training Camp? Who knows? But, I do know that if he doesn’t show heart, motivation, determination and development he will be gone. It’s time for Xavier Grimble to prove he deserves to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.