Steelers need to find a slot receiver

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The Steelers have two great outside receivers in Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Beyond that, the depth chart is unsettled.

The biggest question mark, as noted by Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, comes at the slot position.

Yes, Smith-Schuster could operate from the slot, if the team feels comfortable with rookie second-rounder James Washington in an outside role.

Veteran candidates include Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Rutter thinks Marcus Tucker, a practice-squad player in 2017, could earn a roster spot specifically to play in the slot.

Then there’s Eli Rogers, who suffered a torn ACL in the playoff loss to the Jaguars and who is still looking for work. The Steelers could bring him back, and he could earn reps in the three-receiver set.

Whoever gets the gig should have favorable matchups, given the attention that will be paid to Brown and Smith-Schuster. Which will put even more pressure on the slot receiver to perform.

16 responses to “Steelers need to find a slot receiver

  1. You compete against yourself or at most the defensive alignment not against the other 2 wideouts.

    PS: Being in the slot is like being in the city while being a wideout is like being in the country.

  2. Ive seen Brown do slot work before. He is amazing at it too, some of the best I’ve ever seen. I can see why Pittsburgh doesnt want him there too much, but the fact is, its harder to find guys that can handle the slot work really well than it is to find guys that can atrwak a deep route.

    Im a little suprised Pittsburgh didn’t make a play for Amendola. I get the age and injury concerns, but coming out of the Patriots system he has top notch experience at it. He did well filling in for Edelman when needed so hes proven.

  3. Art of the crowd – If your wondering why the thumbs down are stacking up it’s because that’s preposterous to say it’s easier to find an outside reciever than a slot reciever.

  4. The Kansas city Chiefs have the best WR/TE package in the league and will outscore everyone else on their way to the Super Bowl.
    Bye Ben, and see ya Tomlin, both of you will be gone after this disasterous season concludes

  5. Did they find a real coach? If not, a slot receiver is the least of their worries

    Maybe they should follow the Ninkovich and Edelman formulation for cheating by taking PED’S as part of the Patriot way….you know cheating……..what a pathetic repetitive unimaginative invertebrate..

  6. SundayPsychic says:
    July 9, 2018 at 11:26 am
    Art of the crowd – If your wondering why the thumbs down are stacking up it’s because that’s preposterous to say it’s easier to find an outside reciever than a slot reciever.

    Not true, the guys that have that fast twtch quickness to shake their coverage execute a route in traffic and at the same time have the sense of timing to be open in the exact right spot at the exact right ibstant right as the gap opens up for the qb to fire the ball through are rare. Its not just who is willing to take the hits, to really excell as a slot receiver you have to gave that quickness and timing. I cited the Patriots because Edelman, Amendola and previously Welker all had that and its carried them further than it has the teams trying to live off the deep pass. And coupled with Bradys precision and timing thats a lot of made plays, but maybe not highlights so the layperson doesnt get it (and a lot of them make fun of Bradys short throws thinking its harder to put up bombs for a reviever to run under. My original point is that Brown does poseess that skill set to a rare level, and Ben (his haters with thumbs down some more here) does posess that sharp timing and precision needed to make those type throws.

    The problem here is that the slot guys take a beating and its questionable if you want Brown taking that.

  7. Art of the crowd – No again cause your trying to take 1 player off a great system and New England has shown how they feel about the slot position by showing it’s interchangeable. To say it’s tougher to find a good slot than a good outside reciever again your out of your mind. Cooper Kupp, Albert Wilson, Tyrell Williams, Keenan Allen, Sterling Shepard, Nelson Agholor, Randall Cobb, Danny Amendola, Mohamed Sanu, Jarvis Landry do you honestly think it’s harder to find someone who replicates their production and what they do than Tyreek Hill, OBJ, Josh Gordon, Davante Adams, Julio Jones? Your also mistaken on how slot receivers operate. Yes there are your Amendola and Wilson types but there are also big physical slot receivers like Mathews, Fitgerald, Sanu who use their hands, strength and head to get ooen. You can’t take what New England has done and try to place it on their slot reciever either. It’s a collective effort because those deep passes are what softens the coverage for the slot reciever and when teams have struggled with deep speed and a defense doesn’t have to respect it your slot reciever will struggle and New England has known that that’s why they’ve made deals over the years for guys like Moss and Cooks.

  8. One skill that slot receives have, and Pittsburg needs is blocking. Hines Ward was a great blocking WR (as good as most tight ends). Edleman and Welker were/are good blockers. Finding the little shifty guy who can catch? Not so hard. Finding one who can catch and block? that is rare. [On Ward, I am not a Steelers fan, but very good players deserve mention especially for their unheralded actions]

  9. JuJu is a smart, physical presence who thrives in the slot. The real question is who can play outside, promising rookie James Washington or career underachiever Justin Hunter? I think it will be mostly AB and JuJu in 2 WR sets, with JuJu kicking inside in 3 WR sets. Marcus Tucker to battle Hunter for the 4th WR spot. Regardless of the configuration, the Steeler O is going to explode in 2018!

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