Steelers TE Heath Miller: ‘I Expect To Be Better Than Last Year’

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller might have only caught 58 passes in 2013, but being as he only played in 14 games, that’s not too shabby at all. While Miller may have seemed back to normal to many people last year after tearing up his knee late in the 2012 season, normal was something he searched for all season.

“Last year was about trying to find a new normal for myself and I’m a creature of habit, so that wasn’t easy for me,” Miller said Thursday, according to Scott Brown of ESPN.com. “I’m fully confident by the time the season rolls around I’m going to be feeling much better than the start of last year just from a confidence perspective.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert has said several times over the course of his time in Pittsburgh that it takes a player at least a full year to get back to normal following a serious knee injury that involves ligaments being torn. Miller’s year anniversary of his knee injury was Week 16 of the 2013 season, so you can clearly see why he can’t wait to get back on the field again in 2014.

“I should be able to put more preparation in, should be able to work like I’m used to working,” said Miller, who also admitted that he struggled with finding the right balance between how much to work and how much to take off during his rehab process.

Several in the fan base believe that 2014 will be the final season for Miller in Pittsburgh, but I have made it quite clear that I don’t buy into that line of thinking. In fact, I think I will be more surprised if Miller doesn’t play out his current contract, which now runs through the 2016 season thanks to him signing an extension this past offseason.

Miller, perhaps, has the best hands on the team and that is evidenced by his career target to reception percentage. His dip in yards per reception last season was certainly understandable as well being as he was coming off of a serous injury.

Will Miller catch 70-plus balls in 2014? It’s hard to say, but I wouldn’t bet my house against that happening. I expect he’ll be back to pre injury form in 2014 and he thinks he will be as well.

“I expect to be better than last year,” Miller said.

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

    I would be happy if he caught 58 passes again in 2014. But where did his red zone production go. He only caught 1 td pass last year and needs to increase that to at least 7 or 8 td’s in 2015. Come on Heath you know steeler nation loves to yell, Heeeeeaaaatthh!

  • shawn

    I fully expect Heath to do well in 2014 and would be shocked if he didnt play another 2-3 years … I can easily see him playing out his contract and retiring in 2016 … which gives us another year or 2 to get his replacement !

  • steelster

    As long as he produces and I think he will I don’t think the steelers need to find his replacement until 2017. Rookie te’s can start and produce in the nfl now.

  • Ken

    With all the new receivers, I think Heath Miller is going to be a favorite of Ben’s this season, especially early in the season. We need Heath Miller now more than ever.

  • steelster

    I agree

  • Madi

    He didn’t have his strength or confidence. That’s a big deal. Getting those back will improve his play for sure. I’m expecting 2011/2012 type of play from Heath this year.

  • treeher

    Cotch sucked up all the red zone stuff.

  • steelster

    yes and he is gone

  • Steel PAul

    How fast can a ‘post-torn up knee TE’ who will turn 33 be? That will be the deciding factor as to how long he plays.

  • falconsaftey43

    Heath was never fast. That’s not what made him great. He has terrific hands and knows how to find the holes in zones.

  • steelster

    Heath is only 31 and the knee shouldn’t be a problem.

  • John C

    Especially if they use Wheaton and Archer to spread the field…..that will leave Heath open a lot I think

  • Steve

    Hines was never fast either but he was tuff and ran Great routs with good hands.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I “expect” the Steelers will be drafting a pass catching TE next year (2015 draft) within the first 2 rounds.

  • steelster

    I don’t, I see cb, ot , olb and nt all needs ahead of te. Why draft a te in a high round when heath’s contract runs through 2016. The passing game will have plenty of weapons for 2015.

  • tim

    They got the type of TE they WANT……they would not have taken Ebron had he been there at 15….we already been thru this….a Steelers TE must be anle to block and THEN catch….but YOU still think the Steelers are going to become the Lions lol

  • shawn

    Well i dont know about that … would be nice to have him on the team one year to be under Heaths tutelage … so I think they would need to draft him 2016 at the latest … but this still doesnt take into account us getting our 2nd TE (granted that Blanchflower can lock up the 3rd TE position)

    We still need that valuable Athletic TE that we can flex out to create RZ mismatches …. I would be very surprised if they dont pick up one of these guys next year … especially with Spaeths injury & age issues !

  • Weiss Chad

    I can actually see him having his best year yet within next thre yrs and give him atleast thre yrs left

  • shawn

    would be nice !

  • Bill Kniess

    I think the signing of another power back takes some of the pressure off of Heath to make the catches and just give us good blocking. Wonder if Whitten may be available…if we’ve done really well at LB maybe we swing a deal with the poor Cowboys.

  • cp72

    Huh?

  • Steel PAul

    Clarifying, I mean if he’s at his previous speed and hasn’t slowed.

  • Steel PAul

    True. I’m saying that if Heath has slowed from his previously normal speed, this will make a difference, just like it did with Hines.

  • Johnny Loose

    Anyone that thinks 2014 will be Heath’s last year is out of their mind. HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAATH has 3 seasons left in him at LEAST.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It’s funny that you used the word “runs” when it comes to Heath’s contract. Perhaps you should’ve used “jogged” because that’s about all he can do these days.

    Lamarr Woodley’s contract ran though 2017. So we should’ve been fine at OLB too right? Oh wait, no, it’s one of your top 3 needs now?

    Let’s look at our depth behind Heath (just in case we didn’t get a good enough look last year when Heath was out for the first 4 games and we went 0-4). Well we’ve got the blazing fast, sure handed Matt Spaeth. And Michael Palmer. Okay, we’re fine.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    And how exactly do you know the Steelers would not have taken Ebron at 1.15? You must be speaking for yourself? Because our head coach Mike Tomlin showed at least some interest at the combine. And sent reps to his pro day.

  • steelster

    You can fix backup te’s in free agency. Woodley has nothing to do with it. Heath was coming off ACL surgery and wasn’t 100 percent so he coundn’t run as fast but yet still had 58 receptions which is fine.

  • Bill Kniess

    which part? They signed Blount so they can pound on defences even more this yr. But if they could get Whitten on a good deal..what a set of weapons for Ben.

  • shawn

    ditto ! They Better … Im hoping for 2 things next year above all else … Top playmaking CB & a Big Atlhletic TE to flex out … if they get those 2 things the rest of the draft is gravy !

  • shawn

    we need a TE like 5 yrs ago man …. what are you talking about ! its a TOP need period !

    Its like having a family and you only have one car on its last legs and u say nahh we can all fit in the old minivan … we dont need a nice sedan … lets not just be average … lets be like the other top programs and have dual TE threats !

  • shawn

    Ebron was a high interest on their board from most reports … him and Gilbert were prob the top 2 wants from everything i have read !

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    LOL

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    It’s amazing to me how someone could look at our roster and NOT see CB and TE as our top 2 needs.

    Again, that’s not saying that we don’t have other needs. But we are starving for an elite playmaker at those 2 positions (IMO).

  • steelster

    So you think the tackle position is set for the future. If big ben goes down this team can’t compete. Also, I think it’s wise to protect your biggest investment. The patriots do it.

  • shawn

    Well … lets think about that … we have 3 young OT and have just added a top notch OL Coach to the staff … so the wise thing would be to give him a year or so and see what he can do with them and let it all shake out … possibly we could be set at OT or maybe we will need an upgrade …. point is time will tell … hey u never know maybe all 3 pan out and we have competent starting tackles with a decent swing guy to back them up … one can dream …

    We have to wait n see … & give Munchak and the young guys some time … but I’m optimistic … but realistically speaking we will probably have to pick up a quality top OT sometime in the next couple years !

  • steelster

    I’m not saying a hybrid te wouldn’t be nice, it would. But correct me if I’m wrong has this type of te (jimmy graham,etc.) won a superbowl yet. To me a hybrid te would be a luxury pick. Also doesn’t this take wheaton off the field if he is a future slot receiver. What if wheaton turns out to be close to a pro bowl type wr, do you want him on the sideline. I’m including Bryant as the number 2 and hope you clear this up for me.

  • shawn

    I dont know if winning the Super Bowl is necessarily the criteria i would use to gage wether it is worth getting an Athletic TE to flex out … although i should remind you that both in 2011 & 2012 the Super Bowl losers did have such a TE in NE and SF … so there is obviously some history and value there to go on …

    That said there are a myriad of formations that the hybrid TE could be used including with a Slot WR which would be an empty set backfield … i dont think it would a hindrance at all to Wheatons production …. I too see him best suited in the slot … but not sure if it will pan out that way … for now he is going to get every opportunity to get and keep the #2 WR job !

  • tim

    Welp….we looking alot BETTA at OLB these days and anyone. .I repeat…ANYONE WILL BE an upgrade ova Paulson SO the coaches AND ALOT of others ( myself included) believe the TE postion has ben upgrade also….

    We look good on paper and with the upgrade in coaching staff also, our LB’s should benefit and our new tight end will also benefit while working with the new line coach at times since they work with different units at different times….
    Yea I’d say so far we’re fine in those departments…