Fowler: Justin Hunter Expected To Dress Vs Ravens

The Pittsburgh Steelers offense is looking for a spark after an underwhelming start to the year. In part, that’ll come with some personnel changes. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reports Justin Hunter said he will be active this weekend against the Baltimore Ravens.

Hunter has been a weekly inactive this season after making the club as the final receiver on the roster, edging out Sammie Coates, who the team dealt to the Cleveland Browns.

It’s unclear who would become inactive with Hunter up. It could wind up being Darrius Heyward-Bey, who hasn’t seen much of a role on offense.

Hunter was kept around for his red zone and scoring threat. Last year with the Buffalo Bills he caught four touchdowns on 10 receptions. He has 12 TDs since coming into the league in 2013.

Roethlisberger talked Hunter up during training camp and was likely influential in keeping him on the roster. And Roethlisberger certainly could use a weapon he has confidence in to get him – and the offense – back on track.

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Josh Gustad

    The receiving core isn’t the difference. The terrible QB play is. Minus that one huge drop by Martavis (which was slightly overthrown), this is all on Ben and adding Justin Hunter won’t change any of that.

  • Andy Wright

    Agreed, but maybe he can jump a little higher than some of the other receivers since Ben always puts the ball just out of reach at extremely awkward angles. The Ravens secondary isn’t going to miss out on those tipped balls caused by QB inaccuracy.

  • John Noh

    Yep, this is what I had expected. DHB is awesome on special teams but the offense needs more spark. That’s way more important right now than losing an excellent gunner. Others on Danny’s squad will need to step up.

  • Craig M

    Alex- threw away my Steeler jacket after Marczi’s article and quit watching the games, after 48 years. Having a tough time though w/ staying away from your articles- you’ve got a lot of talent/ heart for the game. Stay true to the game and to yourself, hope you have an ever up spiraling career. Just one piece of advice- wear a slip over gold/ black shirt w/ a collar on you videos, appearance means a lot to anyone who watches and you never know, that future opportunity may be watching.

  • Steeler-Drew

    So the OL, Bell, MB, and Haley have nothing to do with lack of production? Got it!

  • Josh Gustad

    Sure the OL hasn’t been at its best but they haven’t been the primary reason we’ve struggled. Bell’s successful run rate is actually at what it’s supposed to be if you listen to the terrible podcast (don’t remember exactly what the successful run percentage is supposed to be). Like I said, outside of that long drop by Martavis, he has not been the issue. Ben has not thrown him catchable balls.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Glad to see they are willing to make some changes. The ST may take a hit but getting more production on offense outweighs the need at this point. What I really want to see as well is getting McDonald involved in the game as a middle of the field threat.

  • Josh Cummings

    Anyone else have thoughts on Eli Rogers possibly sitting this game instead of DHB? If it took this long for them to give him PR duties, the leash is probably pretty short… As far as contributing on offense, he has played a little less each game as JuJu is playing more. DHB, while we all know hasnt contributed much, can play at all the WR positions if needed. While i do really like Rogers… is his PR ability more valuable than DHB’s ST ability?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I wonder what the possibilities are that it could also be Eli Rogers. This kind of coincides with the article of JJSS getting so many more snaps last Sunday so that could be interesting to keep an eye on.

  • Josh Gustad

    And to your Haley point, I think it has been a more lack of execution than anything. I don’t want you to think I’m one of those Steeler fans who thinks “Ben is done.” All I’m saying is it starts with the QB and he has struggled so far this season

  • Steeler-Drew

    What was also not talked much in the last game was Bell’s drop in open space that would have resulted in a first down and kept the drive alive. Sure it was thrown a tad hard but it clanked off of his hands. We have seen him make that catch 9 out 10 times in the past.

    I’m a Ben supporter and I will the first to admit he has not played well but it goes much deeper than that. Had the OL played better from the beginning they could strike a better run/pass play balance from the first snap. Also what does it say about Haley when the offense has played better in the hurry up when Ben calls his own plays. Sure some if not most of the deep balls may be on Ben but the ridiculous amount of bubble screens in the first game was on Haley. Not only has Ben not been looking to exploit the middle of the field enough so has Haley.

    I don’t care what anyone says Bell looked rusty in at least the first two games despite the OL. And the same could be said about MB.

    Ben should shoulder a lot of blame but to say most of blame is not accurate IMO.

  • Matt Manzo

    That was my first thought.

  • Cullen James Riley

    Does this imply that Martavis Bryant’s illness looks to keep him out of the game on Sunday? He was held out of practice Wednesday over it. I hope not – though I am interested in seeing Justin Hunter’s abilities in Black & Gold.

  • Nolrog

    This is not all on Ben. The OL has been poor, the running game non-existent, the play calling atrocious. Ben has not played terrific, sure, but the problems run far deeper than just him.

  • john bennett

    No, not a thing. It’s all because Hunter hasn’t been in the lineup.

  • nutty32

    Why would they go public with this unless he’s just a decoy/monkey wrench for Raven prep? Probably because they’re stupid.

  • nutty32

    Not a bad day to break out AB for punt returns?

  • SilverSteel

    Hey Craig. Where you going? What Marczi article? Who is driving you away? You are one of my favorite posters with great insights at times. Hope you don’t leave….

  • nutty32

    Doubt it. It’d be the biggest P move to miss the Ravens game over a cold/flu. Dyquil after Nyquil & good to go.

  • CP72

    Been a Steelers fan for over 30 years. I was also not happy how they handled last Sunday. They missed the mark and said as much.

    After 48 years it seems like an extreme step to stop watching your favorite team. Your obviously a true Steeler fan and I think the only person your punishing is yourself.

  • Steelnads

    I couldn’t agree more. There was an article the other day here on SD that talked about milliseconds being the difference between MB making huge catches and either being overthrown or dropping passes. The defense is…well, about what I expect them to be and special teams has looked solid, if not unspectacular, at least until this past weekend.

    It’s going to take some offensive game plan creativity to beat the Ravens in their house. They’re not a good offensive team and i think their defense is probably like the Steelers’ offense — a bit overrated. That said, it feels like every time they play in Baltimore they get behind early and spend the rest of the game in catch-up mode. Of course, converting 3rd downs and scoring TDs instead of FGs goes a long way towards pulling us fans back off the ledge.

  • nutty32

    That’s ok. That’s exactly how they want to manipulate good folks into overreacting and hating others.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Ben has admitted as much…he has to play better and imo also make better decisions.

    Haley rarely does what I think he should do vs the Ravens, but maybe this will be the game he actually shows them something they haven’t practiced against 20,000 times already. I think Justin Hunter is getting a helmet in lieu of DHB. I can see him actually being a 6-8 target player in this game…The Ravens are going to make Bell & AB work for their yards..Hunter being in the mix is not something they can expect.

  • I.P. Freeley

    True, but if they think it will make a difference, it can make a difference.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Do what you got to do Craig. Have appreciated your comments. I’m standing by the Steelers but understand that folks have to follow their beliefs regardless if I agree.

    If you do decide to come back to Steelers Nation; no hard feelings from me.

  • Steeler-Drew

    I’m concerned with Ben’s statement now talking about forcing the run almost too much. Until the OL shows otherwise that would a recipe for failure especially against the Ravens. And that’s exactly what they did against the Ravens last year and it clearly didn’t work and I’m almost positive it won’t work again this year. Granted Ben was coming off of an injury but it was one of Haley’s worst called games outside of the Dolphin game.

    So this year we went from too many short passes to too many long passes now we are talking about running it too much.

    The OL has to play better to have a more balanced attack but with all of this talent I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around not being able to spread the ball to multiple receivers with a mix of short, medium, and long range passes.

  • 6 ring circus

    I stand with ‘The Steelers”. No few players, protests, whatever is going to make me throw away my allegiance. I was “born and raised”. I hate the game, not the players. The game is to conquer and divide, rather than to unify and prosper. The Steelers have always stood for football and nothing more. That is what they tried to do last Sunday – stand for football, and nothing more. If you can’t see and understand that, I feel for you. I speak as a veteran of war serving with the United States Army. I love the flag and this country and what it represents. My service attests to that. But change is always difficult and the catalyst is always an object of ire. I get that. But I won’t jettison the team I love over some political B.S. That’s like divorcing my wife because she is an Eagle fan. So What…

  • Darth Blount 47

    Sweet! I called this!

    However, Bryant missing 2 practices in a row with an “illness” has me worried. You almost NEVER hear of someone missing a game with an “illness” when they catch it as early in the week as he has, but I guess ya never know. Would be a downgrade to gain Hunter but lose MB. I’m really hoping we have all hands on deck for this one, including Ramon Foster.

    All that said, I am very excited to see what Justin Hunter can add to the soup.

  • Darth Blount 47

    Eagles fan? Naw. But if she were a Pats fan… we’d have to at least sit down and have a talk. 😉

  • Pat Knotts

    AMEN

  • Steve Johnson

    C’Mon Justin Hunter. I think he replaces Bryant, he must be hurt, hasn’t practiced this week. DHB? Maybe they will dress him. HA!

  • Darth Blount 47

    Reading a firsthand account of something like this actually happening makes my heart hurt… 🙁

  • steelcityinny

    I may be way off here, but don’t be surprised if they sit Martavis Bryant.

  • NYCSteelCurtain

    Dude, at least they are switching it up.

  • J.

    The problem is Ben not taking what the defense is giving him. He is locking in on Brown to much and also locking in on the big play rather than looking for the open man. There was also a comment by Bell at one point where he said he thinks they need to run the plays that are called. This would suggest that Haley is calling one play and Ben is optioning to another.

  • Aj Gentile

    If she was a Pats fan, i would hope that the only thing you do it talk

  • Aj Gentile

    Eli had good stats last year vs the ravens

  • Aj Gentile

    They could dress all the WR and sit one of the OLB if they are all healthy

  • Rocksolid20

    Yes Ben has said he has to play better , when will Bell and MB step up and say the same ?

  • Rocksolid20

    Ok Hunter takes DHB spot on Sunday . How does that get him on
    the field . DHB hasn’t been getting snaps .

  • Matthew Marczi

    I assume he’s mad because he’s committed to believing a false narrative about what the Steelers did pre-game on Sunday.

  • John Noh

    More four-wide sets, I guess – AB, MB, JJSS or Eli, and Hunter

  • Dewayne Braxton

    Keeping the bumb (Bey) just to have him run down the field as gunner was stupid! Bey isn’t even a versatile special teams player. He doesn’t return kick or punts, nor doe she block them. He is gunner for crying out loud! How in the hell can a player be an excellent gunner! Come on! Any rookie with speed can do his job.

  • Dewayne Braxton

    When a player has talent you find a way.

  • gdeuce

    Bryant is sick not hurt

  • derp_diggler

    They can dress Jerry Rice and Randy Moss in their primes but it won’t do them any good if Ben keeps ignoring anyone not named AB or on a go route. C’mon Ben, use ALL your weapons.

  • Stout

    Mine, also. My thoughts aren’t worth much, though.

  • SilverSteel

    Well that sucks. He was a great SD contributor and will be missed. I hope he reconsiders.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I don’t think either would say they have played their best football, but Ben is the catalyst and aside from OL play, he’s the primary reason the OFC is successful or not…almost any QB.

  • Michael Conrad

    Well I have been saying if for weeks. Give Hunter a hat. They need more speed on the outside to help the O. I hope MB is ok for sure. I have know idea what Hunter will do but lets hope he can help out. I think they could slot AB with Hunter on the outside with MB outside or use Hunter in four wides. MB dresses then either Rogers or DHB takes a seat. Do they know MB won’t be playing maybe that is why he is getting a Hat. To me Hunter and MB with AB and JJSS in four wides is a better deal.

    I want to here about Tucker. I liked what he did in the last game of preseason. This team does not have time to play around. Ravens then the Jags and KC .Need to get into a rhythm on offense.

    I just watch the Packers go down the field with ease against Chicago and score a TD with their starting tackles out with injuries. They ran and passed with ease.

  • Mr jack

    Ben look like he is done,I hope not but he has been looking that way.

  • MC

    Im excited to see what Hunter can do with this chance. Of course it won’t matter if the Oline doesn’t protect well enough and/or Ben holds the ball for too long/Haley can’t call good plays.

  • Michael Pennant

    We clearly have good enough skill position players to have a high powered offense. The problem is the scheme. It relies too much on individual skills and not enough on scheming to confuse defenders. Watching Patriots/Packers receivers get wide open (especially in the red zone) while not being as skilled as ours is frustrating.

  • Todd Borax

    Do they pay you around here based on how often you use the word “narrative”? It’s nonstop. Buy a thesaurus.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You joined just to say this? Are you Secret Craig M?

  • jsteeler

    Getting the ball to the WR’s, TE’s and the RB’s with touch is much more important.
    I saw Ben throwing the ball 100 mph to Bell who was only 3 yards away. Wow, Not good. The overthrow to a 6’5, 4.4, WR, wide open 40 yards down the field is not good. Forcing passes to AB with 2 DB and a LB on him When Jessie & Eli are wide open is not good. Mobility and Accuracy is needed to orchestrate this team on offense with all of these weapons. It is going to waste.

  • jsteeler

    True. Ben can audible into his best play and out of a bad one. It seems that his decision making is being processed very slowly and he is not putting the offense in the best of light. Not good when the game is going 100 MPH.

  • Josh Gustad

    *facepalm*

  • Todd Borax

    No, I’ve been lurking here for two years and I never felt the need to comment on anything but you finally drove me over the edge with your overuse of “narrative”. It’s been driving me nuts for months!!

    On the bright side Disqus got a new user from it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I don’t know, Todd. I just checked the past four months of my Disqus history and including this instance, I’ve only said it three times in that span, one of those times being in reference to somebody else using the word. I’ve also used it nine times in articles since June, and I’ve written like 1000 articles since then. So I guess your narrative that I use the word too much is bunk.

    (Please take this comment in the joking spirit it was intended. I actually would like to be sensitive to the overuse of words, so if it’s enough to get somebody without an account to comment on, then it’s enough to pay attention to. It got me curious about my usage of the word and it was easy enough to look up.)