Categorized | Article, Rankings

No Reason To Think Steelers TE Heath Miller Is Close To Being Done


So far during the offseason, there has been a large group of the of the Pittsburgh Steelers fan base that wants the team to draft a tight end early in this year’s draft to begin grooming to take over for veteran Heath Miller. In fact, prior to him getting extended several weeks ago, I even saw a few fans suggesting that the team should cut Miller outright because of the salary he was originally scheduled to earn. Miller, however, is far from being done.

While Miller only registered 58 catches for 593 yards and one touchdown last season, it’s important to remember that he only played in 14 games. If you stretch out those numbers two more games based on his final stats, he would have likely finished with around 66 catches for 678 yards. To put that into perspective, there were only seven other tight ends in the league last year that caught more than 66 passes.

Despite registering a career-low 10.2 yards per reception in 2013, Miller still caught 73.4% of the passes thrown his way. That catch percentage was the highest on the team of all Steelers players targeted six or more times.

To put that completion percentage into an even better perspective, of the tight ends last season that were targeted 40 or more times, only Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins had a better completion percentage (76.3%).

As far as Miller’s touchdown production being virtually nonexistent last season, he was only targeted four times from 10 yards and in. He caught two of those passes with one going for a touchdown on a shovel pass. That’s a far cry from the 14 times he was targeted in that area of the field in 2012.

Miller’s 2013 season was quite amazing when you consider that he wasn’t even one full year removed from the serious knee injury he suffered in 2012 until the Week 16 game against the Green Bay Packers last season. He’s had a full offseason now being completely healthy and he’s still only 31 years-old.

Now, will Miller ever have another season like he had in 2012? I wouldn’t rule it out, but even if he doesn’t, a 60 catch, 650 yard season in 2014 certainly seems to be achievable for him. In other words, it’s ludicrous to think he’s close to being done and there’s no reason to think that he won’t be able to play out his current contract that now runs through the 2016 season.

YEAR TARG REC REC % YDS TD YAC/REC YPR 10 YD TARG 10 YD REC 10 YD REC % 10 YD YDS 10 YD TD
2005 52 39 75.0% 459 6 N/A 11.8 5 4 80.0% 17 4
2006 55 34 61.8% 393 5 N/A 11.6 8 4 50.0% 10 3
2007 61 47 77.0% 566 7 5.3 12.0 6 5 83.3% 11 2
2008 66 48 72.7% 514 3 5.4 10.7 4 3 75.0% 10 3
2009 98 76 77.6% 789 6 5.6 10.4 4 2 50.0% 7 1
2010 67 42 62.7% 512 2 5.9 12.2 4 2 50.0% 7 1
2011 74 51 68.9% 631 2 5.2 12.4 4 1 25.0% 8 1
2012 101 71 70.3% 816 8 5.1 11.5 14 9 64.3% 44 7
2013 79 58 73.4% 593 1 4.8 10.2 4 2 50.0% 10 1

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • StarSpangledSteeler

    Quick question to everyone…

    Why do you all think Miller only caught one TD last season?

  • JAMESH

    Todd Haley?

  • scott2443

    miller will be just fine i am not worried about him …its rest the te`s on team i worry over …steelers have gone def and wr to much in my opinion and ignored te spot for to long but millers career is coming to a close in few years yet …they need to get a good ready to play te this draft not another well we will wait and give the guy we pick few years to be groomed for the spot just imagine miller on one side and another one like him on other side and a great running game to go with that …i know everyone is going pass pass pass in league …i want the steelers running down the throats of teams back and dumping off to te`s ….i know i am talking old school but i miss old school sock um sack um hit um football run them over football..millers my guy till he wants to retire you dont have to worry if hes ready to play he plays like a steeler should ..i feel this draft will define if steelers will draft to win another super bowl in next 2 years or if its be a rebuilding draft that in 4 to 5 years they be going for that 7th one because by then ben will not be the starting qb as he is in next 2 years

  • JAMESH

    Lack of separation? (Unable to make cuts, speed)

  • steeltown

    Cotchery

  • steeltown

    Yes sir, there are many a TE that have been productive well into their mid-30s

  • mlc43

    I have been an advocate of an early TE. I, however, have never been on board with cutting Heath. I would like to see a Pass catching TE brought in to compliment Heath. See some 2TE sets that actually has another TE in their that can cause some serious mismatches. Heath has a couple more years in him and should be totally back to form this year.

  • Eric MacLaurin

    +1

    In my case a guy like ebron can fill the tall WR need while also giving you a back up for heath and a 2nd TE, as well as the multiple formations you get in no huddle. That’s pretty tempting, especially compared to a WR

  • SteelersDepot

    only targeted 4 times inside the 10.

  • AndyR34

    While I am not an advocate of eliminating Heath, I think preparing for a replacement is not a bad idea. Some people on here think that he is going to be instrumental in replacing the ‘lost’ production of our missing WR’s. Not going to happen…he had his third best season for catches and fourth best for yards, even though he missed games. It is folly to assume he is going to be even more productive as time goes on. His blocking is declining and I expect receiving to decline as well…maybe not dramatically, but decline it will. It is clear that no one else on the roster can take his place…no one is even a decent back-up for him…if he goes down again, you can forget about the TE position as a part of our offense. This is not an argument FOR Ebron, but the arguments against him based upon Heath’s presence and ‘upside’ are bogus.

  • Aharon Moyer

    butter fingers?

  • JohnB

    I’m not saying we gotta run Heath out of town but I want something better than Matt Spaeth.

  • GoodGMsDon’tTakeSillyRisks

    I love Heath and am not a fan of overreactions like cutting him, but I don’t think it’s really fair to say that it’s “ludicrous” to think he’s close to done. He’s a professional athlete in his thirties who plays a position that requires athleticism–that’s more than reason enough to think he’s nearly done. What we know about athletes in this position is that typically their decline is precipitous, either because of injury (which becomes more common after 30) or because of sudden dips in production. In other words, it doesn’t help to say, “But he was so good last year!” because you could say that about countless skill players the year before they tank.

    All of this means that if you are relying on a 30+ skill player with absolutely zero backup plan, then you’re taking a gigantic risk that you’ll have to start a TE who is well below replacement. I’m not for reaching for Ebron or anything, but developing a young TE with actual promise makes a whole bunch of sense. I hope Miller is one of those rare players, like Tony Gonzalez, who can maintain his level of play for astonishing lengths of time. Unfortunately, that’s not a good bet.

  • HoDepot

    Word

  • Wayne Darby

    Just because he is not done, doesn’t mean you don’t draft a play making tight end. We have seen what a dynamic 2 tight end set can do in the NFL.

  • Weiss Chad

    Lol

  • Ryan lagud

    Heath is a rare player not easily replaced. Everybody is enamored with TE’s like Gronk, and Jimmy Graham but the truth is, Heath is a better overall player than they are. He can catch as good as any TE in the league, AND he’s one of the top blocking TE’s in the league. Not many TE’s specialize in both areas as Miller does. Heath is severely underrated because of Gronks and Graham’s numbers but I’d take Heath any day. He won’t be replaced in one draft. If it were that easy everybody would have a “Heath Miller” on their team. Lets just enjoy his abilities while we have him because he will be sorely missed one day.

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