Roethlisberger Believes Coates Is Close To Being A Contributor Again

Even though Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Sammie Coates failed to register a catch in the team’s Thursday night win over the Indianapolis Colts, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger thinks the former third-round draft pick out of Auburn is making strides in his attempt to finally overcome his deep pass catching drought that he’s been going through since breaking two fingers way back in Week 5.

“I thought Sammie Coates is really starting to come back to us on offense,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday during his weekly interview on 93.7 The Fan. “He’s been awesome the last probably month or two on special teams, but what he’s done this last week on really stretching it out, I honestly probably could have made two better throws on the two go-balls for him. We have a rule with him, we had it with Martavis [Bryant] and even Darrius Heyward-Bey, never underthrow him. Like literally, try and overthrow him because they’re so fast and I didn’t do it on the two occasions.”

If it’s any consolation, Coates did play 10 offensive snaps against the Colts which is more than triple the amount of snaps that he played combined in the Steelers two previous games against the Cleveland Browns and Dallas Cowboys, though five of them came on the final five snaps of the game after some of the starters left. With that said, he’s still only managed to catch one pass for 4 yards since Week 5 and the Steelers offense has certainly missed his big-play production in the meantime.

As noted in a previous post following the Steelers Thursday night game, while it was evident that Roethlisberger underthrew Coates on the two deep targets, it would have been nice to see the young wide receiver battle for the football a little more than he did.

During his Tuesday press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if Coates is now at a level where he can resume the level of activity that he had before he broke his fingers.

“You know, I like to think that he is,” Tomlin said. “We’ll let practice participation and effectiveness be our guide in that area. And like I’ve said repeatedly over the time that he’s dealt with his circumstance, I appreciate his contributions in other areas. His special teams performance has been really solid in the midst of him dealing with some of the things that he’s dealt with from a hand injury standpoint.”

The Steelers will host the New York Giants on Sunday and their defense has given up 37 deep pass completions so far this season. While Coates still might be on pitch-count of sorts against the Giants, it’s easy to speculate that Roethlisberger will once again attempt to target him deep a few times during the game and hopefully this time he doesn’t underthrow him.

“I just thought that he’s really starting to come back on offense and I challenged him in the locker room before the game on that,” Roethlisberger said Tuesday. “I said, ‘Hey you’re doing awesome on special teams, but now it’s time for you to come back to us on offense because we’re going to need you.’ And I could see that sparkle in his eye and even after the game he said to me, ‘Ben, I know I need to make this play for you, but I’m going to come back for you, trust me.’ So, those things all add up for me, like growth and I really think something good in the future.”

Will that good in the future be as soon as Sunday at Heinz Field against the Giants? We’ll see.

  • Daniel

    I sure hope so because im gonna lose my mind if hes still out there getting deep balls and not catching them.

  • Charles Mullins


  • blackandgoldBullion

    Ben has a rule like that? “Never underthrow them” and he still throws it like that after all these years. Man! I have been saying for years to throw the ball farther where it’s impossible for the CB to get because there have been about 4 or 5 guys that can all outrun it. The worst case scenario is an incompletion but usually it’s a long TD with all these speedsters.

    Years of speedsters and Ben still makes his guys slow up way too often and the CB can get back to make a play. He does seem to have the AB speed down pat but the other guys are even faster. Come on, Ben! You can do it.

  • VaDave

    From the looks of it, he needs to use both hands. He is still favoring the one that is messed up.

  • RickM

    The guy has thrown 5,796 passes in the NFL and he is four months shy of his 35th birthday. There’s just not as much arm strength as there once was. Ben can still throw the deep ball. But it’s natural after 13 years that it’s not as effortless as it once was. Wish it was, but I think we’ve seen that it isn’t.

  • Jaybird

    I gotta disagree with you Bullion. Ben throws one of the best deep balls in football. Bar none.

  • RickM

    Gosh, we’re watching different games. I think he’s easily the best in the NFL at around 40 yards. But when he has to put it out there about 50 yards for guys like Coates and Bryant (last year), he’s definitely having some underthrows. I appreciate you don’t see it that way.

  • SfSteeler

    just takes one catch for this kid to turn the corner and get his confidence back…that one catch with AB always ready and Green getting to game speed is everything for us and then a BELL 40+ TD…


  • Taylor Williams

    Cam Newton has the best deep ball.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I think he has the best deep ball, but he likes to drop in in the bucket so to speak. He needs to hit him in stride. The throws Thursday weren’t great to Coates.

  • The Truth

    Don’t expect them to be caught very often when healthy.

  • MC

    Get him some short and intermediate routes to get his confidence up and a rhythm going. If he can’t come through on high percentage throws then he shouldn’t be in there. If his fingers have caused him most of the problem, why has he been active and not allowing them to heal? I’d like to ask the coaches that, i mean his presence on game day has done absolutely nothing for this team since week 5, might as well let him heal up so he can actually make an impact sooner.

  • Mark Lohn

    He used to under throw Mike Wallace all of the time on the 1 route he knew how to run. Somethings never change.

  • Mark Lohn

    I got to disagree with you, Jaybird. It’s not that pretty when he throws deep and its probably less than a 50/50 chance he hits it. He has been very inconsistent in 2016.

  • Steel Realist PAul

    Jeez, what a year for injuries/suspensions..

  • Steel Realist PAul

    And it’s obviously more important to play on ST than to heal up and make a difference on offense

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I agree that he throws a great deep ball but he needs to throw it 5 yards farther as he is definitely good enough to do that. His receivers have to slow up 100 times in the past several years. He could have had 20-30 more TDs, tons more big plays, 30 overthrows for an incompletion and zero INTs. I would take that.

    Throw it farther man!

  • Jaybird

    Ben has been one of the most accurate deep passers the last few years. I consider a deep pass over 30 yrds. Consider also that he has gone from Bryant to Wheaton to Coates to DHB, to Cobi and now back to Coates. I’m sure the timing is a little off because how many different guys he tries to throw deep to.
    I think Ben’s biggest problem is forcing deep throws. But when a guy is open , he hits him as much as any QB .
    I got Ben Bias , what can I say!

  • Jaybird

    That’s were we disagree- I think 40 yards is a deep ball. Ben’s my boy, what can I say! Think of how many different receivers he had this year also. No continuity, and it shows in the timing of his passes.