We have heard a lot of talk about Ladarius Green since the Pittsburgh Steelers tight end broke out with two big receptions in the team’s last game, which seemed to offer glimpses of what they expect him to contribute on a regular basis in the pretty near future. In fact, we have written about this a fair bit ourselves. Now it’s time to take a look at his game, in spite of the fact that it included just over a dozen snaps.
The first play of note for Green came about five minutes into the second quarter, and as you would imagine, it happens to be the first of his two receptions. In his first game as a Steeler, he caught three passes for 30 yards, making receptions of 9, 10, and 11 yards. He didn’t catch a pass in his second game, so this first catch of 32 yards more than doubled his total output on the year.
Here, the Steelers were facing a third and 13, actually. The Colts brought pressure, rushing six on the play, and on of them actually got through Le’Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger had to arc the ball to where he knew Green would be, beating Erik Walden down the field in coverage.
The Steelers scored a couple plays later, and Roethlisberger looked Green’s way again early on the next offensive possession. Only this time, he was off-target. The quarterback seemed to allude to this play during his radio spot that I wrote about yesterday. He was expecting Green to be earlier on his route because his first seven steps are so quick. This is a timing pattern that will come by trial and error, given how much he missed up to now.
It turned out to be a bad sequence of plays for Green, as on the next snap, he was flagged for an illegal hands to the face penalty working in pass protection on what was a third and 10 play. The penalty negated a 17-yard completion for a first down, and the Steelers ended up punting instead of having first and 10 from their 40.
He was also on the field for two rushing plays, though his execution on both seemed to be dubious at best. On this one, he acted as the lone tight end on the play side of a run off right end. I’m not entirely sure what his assignment was here, but David DeCastro ended up being flagged for a hold on the man Green made first contact with.
That penalty negated a first-down run on third and short and the Steelers ended up punting again. So that’s two penalties that wiped out third-down conversions and resulted in them punting. Anyway, Roethlisberger came back to Green on the first play of the next drive.
As you can see, on this one, as with his first reception, he started with his hand in the dirt, only this time he started off with a chip block for good measure. His footing was slow at first before turning up the speed after getting even with the linebacker in coverage and he showed wonderfully soft hands bringing in the arcing ball.