Dri Archer Shut Out On Special Teams

While we got just a glimpse of what we can hope to expect from Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Dri Archer the other night on offense, the New York Giants were able to nearly completely neutralize him on special teams.

Which is somewhat surprising, given that this is the preseason. Like the Steelers, the Giants have a veteran kicker that they are content with, so the decision to send every kickoff out of bounds is a bit peculiar.

The Steelers, for example, appeared to leave a kick or two short in order to get a better look at their coverage unit.

Not the Giants. To be fair, they were alternating between veteran Josh Brown and challenger Brandon McManus on kickoff duty.

McManus sent his first kickoff through the back of the end zone, as did Brown. McManus’ second kickoff was fielded by Archer about eight yards deep, drifting to the right sideline, without a return.

Following halftime, the Steelers replaced Archer as the return man with Jordan Hall, and he didn’t have an opportunity to return either of the Giants’ two kickoffs of the second half, either.

Archer had little success returning punts, either. His first opportunity resulted in a fair catch. On his second and third occasions, he tried to wriggle out of tight spaces against the Giants’ strong coverage units, but only mustered four yards combined between the two returns.

On offense, Archer was only on the field for five plays, but those five plays produced four touches for a total of 59 yards. The bulk of that yards came on the 46-yard reception early in the game on Ben Roethlisberger’s sole possession, of course, which was the longest play of the night for the Steelers.

With many wondering whether the minute back would have issues running between the tackles as a traditional running back, the coaches gave him two such carries to close out the first half with not enough time on the clock to do anything else.

Admittedly, both carries were on draws, but Archer did display some maneuverability on closed spaces, and picked up nine yards in the process. This doesn’t fully answer the implied question, however, without some more straightforward rushing opportunities.

Of course, the likelihood is that Archer will have most of his impact as a rookie on special teams, but we didn’t get much of a chance to see that in the preseason opener.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • treeher

    Look for Steelers to be in top 5 average points per game in 2014.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I hope so, but doubt it. I truly believe they will move the ball much better. but still run into problems in the red zone. Does anyone think it would be advantageous to run out some extra tall guys like the Lions do all the time?

    I would like to see Heath, Spaeth, Justin Brown (All can block well for the RB’s), and Bryant out there in the red zone. There would have to be a mismatch somewhere for a throw, and they should be able to run. Against Seattle, I would have all the small fast guys in there against their tall, but slower DB’s.

    Detroit does it well with all the big boys in the red zone. Why not the Steelers? Any better ideas?

  • steeltown

    Agree for the most part, I’d still want the sure handed AB and/or Wheaton in the game, but not all three (AB, Wheaton and Moore) I would like to see Bryant and/or J.Brown in there with of course Miller/Spaeth pending on the personnel pkg

  • steeltown

    I think one thing that gets lost in all of the preseason blunder talk is the fact that the 1st Team Offense looked pretty solid, yes they failed to get in the endzone, but the OLine looked great, every running play resulted in positive yds and of course Archer showed that shiftiness and toughness. Very positive.

  • 2443scott

    whos to say if he got the rest of the kicks he didnt run one back for a td …if i was the giants i would of kicked it through the end zone as well better on 20 then a td or 50 60 yard run ….he will get his chances and the teams will regret it …after all it was the first preseason game and they had to see who they had …the giants wanted the game more then the steelers if your going to use your back up qb to manning in 4th quarter against the 3rd stringers on def its easy to see who come out on top …

  • Steeler Wheeler

    Don’t care to ever see Archer running between the tackles until the defense feels the same way and plays without any tackles on the field. Steelers have been searching for years for a playmaker at RB and then fail to use him effectively. 3rd and 6 is a down for a solid RB, pick up the blitz, release into the flat and power forward for a first down while being tackled by a LB and a S. 2nd and 2, certainly a down for the homerun hitter. 3rd and 12? Yes, but split him out and don’t ask a guy smaller than most high school boys to stop blitzing NFL linebackers or run between the tackles….that is just stupid.

    Use him for what he is…a pass catching, outside running RB/slot receiver.

  • frednash

    use him in no huddle mismatch
    he’d be a nightmare!

  • walter mason

    Spaeth, like Saunders, has shown he cannot be counted on in the red zone. The jury is still out on JB and Bryant

  • walter mason

    Someone else mentioned this that why did he hesitate on his 46 yard reception? Why didnt he try to outrun the defenders to the endzone?

  • cencalsteeler

    What I liked to see was his confidence on catching the punts. The fair catch had him back peddling and their was defenders on him. He seemed to catch it with ease. Not at all like the nervous Bryant in the second half.

  • Steve

    What about our punts? Wing shanked a few and the bad bounce netted 21 yrds.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I’m not sure how you can say that. I seem to recall that in limited time last year he seemed to do nothing but block well, but then they finally threw one to him. The result? 19-yard TD. That’s fine by me. You know Ben is going to take whatever they give him. Last year it was 10 TD’s for Cotchery. This year it might be Miller or Bryant.

    I don’t know. That’s why I can’t stand Fantasy crap. I consider a colossal waste of time.

  • joed32

    He should have had a touchdown on Saturday.

  • Jake Marion

    Let him prove that he can run effectively between the tackles. Defenses will always be guessing when he is on the field.

  • Lil Smitty

    I completely agree. With your assessment. Dri looked calm out there. He took what was available. The most important thing to me was he didn’t let the ball bounce and add extra yards to the punt. Hopefully, blocking will come around and give him a seam to run through.
    people are complaining about him getting tackled on his long run. I have also read people complaining about how Heath was too slow. My complaint about that play was with the receivers. I didn’t see any of them trying to throw a block or running interference for Dri. Long scores won’t happen unless the receivers can at least get in the way of the DB’s.

  • walter mason

    Spaeth might be good for 1 TD a year and several drops in the end zone. Remember when Heath was injured a few yrs back
    and they expected Spaeth to pick up? Well he didnt. I believe Spaeth was a great addition and we need him to block but he has shown in the past that he is not a reliable end zone threat.