Isn’t It Time To Give New TE Richard Gordon An Opportunity To Fail?

The Pittsburgh Steelers signed tight end Richard Gordon off the street several weeks ago and Sunday marked his third straight game of being inactive. While I understand that he needed time to recover from a great toe injury that he suffered during his very first practice with the team, he wasn’t on the injury report last week, yet he still did not dress.

The Steelers hands are pretty much tied as it relates to shaking up the starting 22 as the players behind them just aren’t better options right now. As bad as safeties Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark have played at times this season, it’s ludicrous to suggest that rookie Shamarko Thomas should replace either in the starting lineup. The role he plays right now in the quarters package at least is getting him on the field.

On the other hand, swapping out a few of the fringe players on offense such as tight ends David Paulson and Michael Palmer with Gordon, is something that head coach Mike Tomlin should consider, especially considering that Paulson didn’t play a snap on offense this past Sunday in lieu of Palmer.

Is Gordon the savior of all things? Is he going to keep the boat from sinking all by himself? Absolutely not, but I can guarantee you that Mike Adams is not going to be respected by any team as a legitimate pass catcher when playing tight end. While Gordon only has three more career catches than Adams does, he does have nearly 140 career offensive snaps underneath his belt and on tape at least, appears to be a capable run blocker.

Heading into this season, tight end David Johnson had all of 18 catches to his credit. In the five games that he played this season prior to suffering a season-ending wrist injury, he caught four passes for 70 yards with three of those producing first downs. He also served well as an inline blocker. According to Tomlin several weeks ago, Gordon fits the Johnson mold.

“We just decided to strengthen ourselves in the very best way possible,” said Tomlin, when asked about the decision to add Gordon to the roster. “Richard Gordon was a tight end that had similar attributes as David [Johnson] in that he’s a strong run performer.”

Until Matt Spaeth is ready to return from his injury, the Steelers could use a second tight end that first and foremost can block, and second, will somewhat be respected in the passing game. Paulson is not that player and neither is Palmer. Gordon, at the very least, deserves the opportunity to fail moving forward. If he can’t be given that opportunity starting this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, why was he even signed in the first place? If the team needed a tight end body for practice, that’s what the practice squad is for.

  • Matt Manzo

    That would make too much sense! And this team hasn’t made any sense all year.

  • 2443scott

    2 wins and half season gone …i want steelers in playoffs …but i know the seasons over ….tomlin after pats game said heads will roll ….just another empty threat it seems after his news conf …..yes we have a starting line up and some those on that starting line up wont be around next season ….so who will fill those spots the other guys that are 2 and 3 years will for the most part and a rookie or two from this years draft and maybe next years draft coaches and team know who they will keep and not why not let those guys you know you will be playing next year get real game time in this year since this years a bust ….ok you can say they are not ready but what are the starters doing now they won just 2 games so how much of a fall off will their be ..playing them gets them more experienced for next year and a step ahead before the next camp starts …..they will be able to see what they got in those players ….if they make them sit around till the 4th year with out knowing if these guys can play the team will suffer as they are now ….tomlin said they all watched the game tape i think they must of watched last years game tape because from what i saw some them gave up and played sloppy and quit on plays they were like playing at half speed ….so tomlins news conf was just more lip service with no bite …..its like hes lost in his own world where its the next man up …steelers released some these guys they brought back why were they released if they were so good ….you get what you pay for or how you coach …so should gordon play yes he should and rest guys as well whats use having them on team if you dont …if a guy goes down then all of a sudden they are good enough to start and play … seasons over so start being the coaches and start getting these guys playing time so next year you dont have another news conf and say well they are just 2nd and 3rd year guys with no experience …

  • Shea Fahr

    BEST overall article I have read in almost 3 weeks…Perhaps he is still learning the Offense like the rest of us. The Spaeth thing is becoming a concern to me because he was to be a huge part of our blocking game this year.

  • Rubem Dornas

    I liked what I saw from Palmer in the offseason, at least in terms of pass catching. He can’t be worse than Paulson.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I agree. I thought Palmer did a good job of catching the pass chances he had. The guy can block, play special teams and I do not see why he shuldnt get a dozen offensive reps. I do agree with Dave as well to see if Gordon can do something positive for us as well.

  • Luke Shabro

    This headline made me crack up and then cry a little on the inside

  • gene mann

    I would happy if they Activate Our Bachup NT to get in some game action to see what he has . But if Gordon is not active on Game day he should be cut we don’t need 4 TE.

  • Mike.H

    It makes too much sense for the FO to accept and implement it. [ Chill, says the Comedian…]

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    At least Paulson is on the bench.

  • Paul


  • steeltown

    Yep, Palmer had a huge 25yd reception for a first down in the preseason, it was Miller-esk and he’s made some nice plays on special teams

  • steeltown

    Totally agree… I think guys like Moye, Fangupo, Golden, Al Woods etc should be given some snaps through the 2nd half of the season, that way when building the roster in the offseason you have a better understanding of what kind of depth you have/need

  • we obviously do spaeth is hurt, Paulson can’t block or catch

  • Callentown

    Dave, I hear ya brother. But it’s been a ludicrous season, hasn’t it? 😉

    I say, replace Clark with Shark; keep Sean Spence on the roster so he can use the rest of this season in special teams or something to get his game back.

    How about Woods and Fangupo getting some time as well.

    We’re going to need new blood next year as starters for sure!

    I’d like to see E. Sanders as KO return from here on out and Wheaton back on the field and moving towards the #2 spot, since I believe that’s where he will open up next season. Paulson should be benched from here out until he can block well enough to step on the field.

    Go Steelers .. Re-Find The Standard.

  • cencalsteeler

    I think bringing in Gordon tells us that Paulson and Palmer are not cutting the cheese. My guess would be Paulson would be the first one gone.

  • PoKey21

    This is obviously a lost season for the team. What they need to do now is make sure that its not a wasted one. Get the young guys more PT no matter how ugly it is, sit the vets that aren’t producing, and work on developing new schemes now in game situations rather than wait until the offseason to try to install something. This season is lost in the fact that we won’t be playing in the playoffs. What we can’t do is let this season snowball into years of mediocrity.

  • JohnnyV1

    Yes, Richard Gordon should get a look. No use saving bullets trying to avoid any mistakes he might make, we’re past that now. And Spaeth isn’t coming back.

    It is not ludicrous at all to have S Thomas start for Ryan Clark to see if he’s capable for next year, b/c Ryan Clark is done as a starter in 2013.

  • Clark communicates with the LB’s Line & Secondary where to be and what is going on. That is a lot to ask from a rookie. Clark is displaying horrendous technique but you are asking for trouble putting an inexperienced safety in a starting role full time.

  • To Quote Herm Edwards-“HELLO, HELLO! YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME YOU DON”T PLAY TO JUST PLAY” That’s why young guys are not playing

  • Callentown

    Additionally, Clark seems to know how to cover when Troy freelances. That said, I’m pretty sure they could switch those duties to Troy (calling the defense), if they wanted to get Shark on the field.

    Jeez, WHAT COULD HAPPEN???? Couldn’t be worse than what we saw against the N.E. Cheatriots.