Superman Miller Might Not Help the Running Game Much Upon Exiting The Phone Booth

Like many of you, I can’t wait until tight end Heath Miller finally returns to the lineup, but I don’t think he will help in the running game as much as many people would have you believe.

Sure, Miller’s run blocking will be better than that of David Paulson, so that’s a plus in itself, but just how much better?

Miller didn’t have a great year in the run blocking department prior to injuring his knee in the Week 16 game against last season the Cincinnati Bengals, and I pointed that out several times throughout the year. In fact, Pro Football Focus ranked him 35th overall in run blocking out of 40 tight ends that played 500 or more snaps last season.

During the offseason, The Steelers purposefully brought back tight end Matt Spaeth; the top rated blocking tight end in the league last year, with the hopes that Miller wouldn’t have to do as much dirty work in 2013, but unfortunately, he will be sidelined at least six more games with a Lisfranc injury. He’s the one the Steelers sorely miss in the running game right now, not Miller.

During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin said they are not expecting Miller to step out of a phone booth with a cape on when he returns to action. While he didn’t say it, one would think it might even take a few games until he is ready to see a full game’s worth of snaps as well.

Superman Miller will be 31 in October and while there’s no reason to think that he can’t pick up where he left off last year as a receiver, there’s also no reason to think that he won’t also pick up where he left off as a blocker.

Make no mistake, it will be great to see Miller come busting out of that phone booth anytime now, but don’t get your hopes up that he will block like he’s inside of one, at least not initially.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Unless Miller can play both guard and tackle positions as well as tight end all at the same time, it probably won’t make much difference. Pittsburgh’s offense has become the Cleveland Brown offense.

  • Busforever

    Some runs have been called with Paulson at the point of attack (of course, it was a disaster lol). So yes, I hope Miller will make a difference on a few plays. Todd Haley wouldn’t call runs on TE only when Paulson is in, can’t he? :troll:

  • Fr33th1nk3r

    What Heath brings to the table is not blocking- but BALANCE. If we can get some consistent yardage through the air– it will setup the run.

  • 2443scott

    maybe heath can get lois to distract the cb`s

  • Shannon Stephenson

    What we do not understand is that it normally takes a person a full year back from a major knee injury before they begin to look like their former selves. I do not expect much from Heath this year.

  • dgh57

    I’m not sure I would use Miller as a blocker anyways, at least not as a in-line blocker against 300+ pd D-Linemen. Seems like a lot of stress/strain on his knee that he had major surgery on. Maybe they should just start him off as a receiver for the first few weeks back to see how things go first.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Well, I’m sure Heath won’t be completely pushed into the backfield like Paulson seems to be constantly. That’ll give the RB at least a chance to make a move instead of having to immediately dodge his own guy.

  • Mkeller

    That’s what I’ve been saying. I love the guy and hope he comes back in full form but to me that’s and unrealistic expectation. He’s a 31 yr old dude with a lot of miles on him so it may take a while for him to get back up to speed.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    To take it to the next step. This was one reason why I thought Eifert in the 1st would have been a good pick. By the time Miller is back to his 100% he will be 32-33 where we will most likely let him go. Bad time for him to have a serious injury IMO.

  • Mkeller

    Over 30 coming off major knee surgery and owed a lot of money. It gets no worse than that. If they extend him I’ll know its time for Colbert to go. His head is stuck in the past. He is to sentimental. They love their own guys to a fault. Players get old and it happens in a hurry. Its not a personal thing when you move on to a younger player but people really get offended for some reason when I say that. No one can justify Heath Miller counting 9.9 mil against a 125 mil cap next yr I don’t care who they are. Doesn’t mean I’m not a fan. You just can’t build a roster investing that kind of money in TEs and ILBs.


    That’s true, especially being able to really trust the knee when you have to plant…that said, Miller was not a pro bowl caliber player because if his wheels…he knows how to find the seams in the zone, how not reveal whether it’s a run or pass presnap…it’s little things imo that made him special.

  • KLSteel

    The Steelers need to get David Paulson out of the game. He can’t block nor is he a pass catching threat like Heat Miller. How he is the starter is beyond me.