5 Steelers who need to see more playing time down the stretch

Tommy Jaggi
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13). Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver James Washington (13). Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Steelers are coasting into the playoffs this year, but here are five players who need to see more playing time down the stretch.

The year 2020 has given us plenty of things to complain about, but the Pittsburgh Steelers are not one of them. Mike Tomlin has led this team to the best start in the history of the franchise, and while they are still being underrated at times, this team could go down as one of the best in recent memory. But even with a perfect record, some minor adjustments may not be a bad thing.

Right now, Pittsburgh is on pace to be the number one seed in the AFC. Not only would that mean owning home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but they would be the lone team in the AFC to receive a first-round bye this year. Winning the conference has never been bigger, and with the Kansas City Chiefs still on their heels, the Steelers can’t afford to let off the gas.

However, when the situation calls for it, five players could really benefit this team by seeing more playing time before the playoffs begin:

WR James Washington

It’s not hard to see why James Washington was surpassed on the depth chart by Chase Claypool. The rookie receiver has been phenomenal this year, and Washington’s skillset is more limited than the bigger, more athletic Claypool. However, it would be wise of the Steelers to get him more snaps down the stretch; especially with the recent struggles of players like Diontae Johnson and Eric Ebron.

Washington has impressed in limited action this year (though he has barely been targeted in most games). His best game of the season came on just 4 targets against Washington as he managed 80 yards and a touchdown. The Steelers are probably going to have a terrible time running the football in the playoffs and going to more four and five receiver sets is going to be a necessity.

In addition, if one of Pittsburgh’s top three receivers were to get hurt down the stretch and miss time in the playoffs, Ben Roethlisberger will want to know that he can count on his former second-round pick when he needs him most. If the Steelers get some sizable leads in the finals games, Washington should be given a majority of the snaps.

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