The Pittsburgh Steelers have been finding ways to win football games. They are the only team in NFL history to have a winning record at this point in the season despite being outgained in every single contest they have played this year. This formula is working (at least well enough to squeak out wins in the regular season), but Mike Tomlin's game plan doesn't come without side effects.
Because the Steelers have been in so many close battles this season, many players have been forced to play an absurd number of snaps while others -- who could prove beneficial to the team -- have rarely seen the field. Whether through injuries or exhaustion, circumstances are calling for these four players to see more snaps moving forward.
1. S Elijah Riley
Elijah Riley has hardly seen the field this season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, what little film we have on him has been promising. In the Week 10 win over the Packers, Riley played 21 defensive snaps. Prior to this, the former practice squad safety saw just 10 snaps all season that didn't come on special teams.
Riley has bounced around since 2020 and he's very much a mystery at this point. But the little film we have on him has been encouraging so far. Riley was flying all over the field against Green Bay in his first notable action of the season. His ability to blitz, cover, and defend the run could be an asset that the Steelers have yet to allow unfold.
In Week 10, Riley graded out as the fourth-best player on Pittsburgh's defense, per Pro Football Reference. With season-ending injuries to Cole Holcomb and Kwon Alexander, the Steelers could look to more dime packages, and Elijah Riley deserves a chance to prove his ability on defense. His versatility in the secondary and in the box makes him a player who should see increased snaps in the future.