There is one player on the Pittsburgh Steelers offense that has flown way under the radar this offseason and that is tight end Heath Miller.
Upon his arrival to the Steel City, new offensive coordinator Todd Haley mentioned Miller by name first during his introductory press conference when he called Miller “one of my favorite players.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin would also add after the hiring, “Haley is excited about what Heath Miller is capable of. He\’s been very clear about that, his excitement to work with Miller. I would imagine that the tight end is going to be a part of our plan.”
If you were to judge the use of Miller by Haley during the preseason, you would think that the veteran tight end will mostly be an afterthought and used primarily as a blocker, as he registered just 2 catches for 15 yards. Haley is smart enough though not to show all of his cards in meaningless games, and there were other aspects of his offense that needed attention prior to the start of the season. He already knows what he has in Miller and that was the least of his concerns heading into 2012.
Those lack of concerns are evidence by how reliable the Steelers former first round pick has been since he was drafted. Since coming into the league Miller has been targeted 469 times in the passing game during the regular season and has caught 335 of those passes for a 71% completion ratio. To put that stat in perspective, Miller is tied for the lead with Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten in the stat when stacked up against tight ends that have been targeted 200 or more times dating back to 2005, Miller\’s rookie season.
Using that same criteria, Miller also ranks third against that same set of players in yards per attempt with a 8.17 stat and 60% of his catches have resulted in either a first down or a touchdown.
All of these impressive numbers certainly haven\’t gone unnoticed by Haley and you can bet that he will use the player that he called one of his favorites quite a bit this upcoming season.
The prop odds for Miller that I posted on Wednesday have his over/under for receiving yardage set this year at 550 1/2 and his over/under receiving touchdowns at 4. Give me the over on both as I expect a Pro Bowl season out Miller in 2012 and I think Haley does as well.