Heading into the 2013 season, I was pretty sure that Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Will Johnson would be used more in the passing game after registering 15 catches for 137 yards last season. That of course hasn’t happened as Johnson now heads into the Sunday game at Heinz Field against the Detroit Lions with a mere three catches for seven yards on five targets.
Johnson has played a total of 155 snaps so far this season with 47 of them coming on pass plays. On only four of those pass play was he asked to block, according to Pro Football Focus.
It’s not as if Johnson cant catch or run routes, either, as he his a former wide receiver, turned tight end, turned fullback. He showed last season that he can be a weapon in the passing game if used correctly as he averaged 9.1 yards per catch. If the Steelers refuse to use him in the passing game moving forward, then the offense is suffering having him on the field as a result.
It’s too late in the season now for Johnson to hit the 20 plus catch mark, but it’s not too late for him to at least come close to the 15 receptions he had last season. For God’s sake, even New York Giants fullback John Conner has more catches than Johnson does this season and he’s only been on the field for 28 pass plays.