The Steelers are starting to catch fire as of late, but here is why these three players deserve more playing time moving forward.
It’s hard to complain about the job that Mike Tomlin and his crew have done with the Steelers this year. Pittsburgh has been shorthanded since losing Ben Roethlisberger all the way back in Week 2. But despite an 0-3 start to the season, the Steelers have found a way to kick things into gear.
Pittsburgh has now won 6 of their last 7 games, and are poised to make a solid run at the playoffs. However, even with all of their success as of late, several players may not be given enough opportunities to contribute.
Here are four players who should see their snaps increased moving forward:
Sutton has been fantastic when called upon this sesaon – surrendering just a 48.1 passer rating when targeted, according to Pro Football Reference. Unfortunately, he has played just 26.7 percent of defensive snaps. Sutton has improved by leaps and bounds since last season, and he has a lot more to offer this defense if given the chance.
For reasons unknown to us, Devin Bush has seen his snaps drop significantly since Week 9 against Miami. Though Bush had 6 games of 60 or more snaps through the first nine weeks, he has seen just 43.5 snaps per game since then. Bush makes mistakes from time to time (as is to be expected by any rookie) but he offers unmatched speed and play-making ability to the position.
Even when James Conner returns from injury, Benny Snell has done enough to prove why he should still carve out a significant role. Snell had some tough sledding against Cleveland last week, but still managed to churn out nearly 4.0 yards per carry and a touchdown on the ground. Conner hasn’t been particularly impressive when healthy this season, and Snell’s recent spike in play shows why he should retain some of his workload when Conner returns.
As the old saying goes “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” This could be true when it relates to the success the Steelers secondary has had this season. But when is the right time to deploy the long, athletic cornerback? Layne has been a fantastic special teams gunner this season, but he doesn’t have a single defensive snap to his name. Perhaps it’s time to give him a brief look in the secondary.
Mike Tomlin and the Steelers are apparently doing something right to be 7-5 after the injuries they have dealt with all season. However, maybe giving a few more snaps to some of these young players could help take some of the pressure off of others who are asked to do so much this season.