Vance McDonald feels he took “steps backwards” in 2019

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Steelers tight end Vance McDonald went from 50 catches for 610 yards in 2018 to 38 catches for 273 yards last season and it would be easy to point to Ben Roethlisberger‘s absence for his drop in production

McDonald admitted it “took some adjusting” to life with Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges at quarterback, but said he still wound up wishing “I would have done more” after going over his performance last year.

“I think I took some steps backwards unfortunately as a player,” McDonald said, via the team’s website. “I don’t even need a coach to give me criticism because I have too much of it already. I think of it as having almost that edge in 2018, being known for having that play with the stiff arm, the run after whenever I would have a reception. I didn’t have as many of those. It makes me want to attack this offseason and next season that much harder.”

Running back James Conner and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster dealt with injuries that helped make their 2019 less productive than hoped when the season got underway. Getting that duo, McDonald and Roethlisberger back to previous form would be a good start to the Steelers’ hopes of rebounding in 2020.