Martavis Bryant, Coaching Staff Have Two Weeks To Assemble A Plan

I’m really not quite sure who should be more grateful at the moment that the Pittsburgh Steelers have a bye week coming up before they have to play again. Is it more beneficial to the injured players who are looking to come out of the other side of the break fresh from a physical standpoint?

Or is it Martavis Bryant, the frustrated wide receiver who saw himself benched for their final game before the break, during which his ‘replacement’, rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster, went off for seven catches and 193 yards to go along with his fourth touchdown of the season, the longest passing play in team history at 97 yards?

The third-year wide out is in desperate need of some mental and emotional rehabilitation before he can re-establish himself on the field, so the bye week comes at a perfect time both for himself and for the coaching staff to figure out what to do with his situation.

Bryant is frustrated that he has not played a bigger role in the offense, though he was seeing his share of targets up until the sixth game. He averaged seven targets per game through the first five, and then just five over the last two before he was made inactive.

Through the midway point, though, both Bryant and Smith-Schuster have seen an identical number of official targets at 36, and when you stack up the production against one another, the contrast is stark.

As I Tweeted last night, Bryant has caught just half of his targets, 18, for 234 yards, averaging 13 yards per reception, while having one lone touchdown on the year. In comparison, Smith-Schuster has caught 67 percent of his targets, 24, for 424 yards at 17.7 yards per reception, with four touchdowns, which leads the team.

Bryant perhaps rightfully believes that he has the talent within him to put up similar numbers, or better, in this offense, but for a multitude of reasons—both his fault and not—the offense has not been terribly productive for the most part when he has been targeted.

It would be the best for all parties if that changes, and that is the end that they will work toward in this down time—provided that he doesn’t get traded in the next two days.

Bryant wants to put up his numbers and contribute to a winning effort. The Steelers would of course never turn away increased productivity. Everybody wins if Bryant is more effective. But the answer is not simply playing him more and throwing him more balls.

It needs to be more concerted than that. He has to get on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger. The coaching staff needs to figure out which routes work best for him, and in which situations.

That’s not to say that they need to cater to one player just to make sure that he gets enough touches to be happy. They cannot give into that sort of mindset. But turning him into a meaningful and productive contributor is the goal that everybody shares.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • John

    I sincerely hope they work hard and come up with a plan. We saw how little we will get from Rogers, Hunter and DHB. You cannot go to the playoffs wth just two receivers. Teams like the Pats will take AB away and see what we can do then.

  • heath miller

    you knw whats funny …. and somehow i do agree with you .. but NE has no where as good of receivers as we do .. yet brady does fine ..

  • falconsaftey43

    I have no idea what’s up with Rogers. He’s not the same guy he was last year.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Brady is the difference. Clearly still has it, even at his age. Ben’s lost it, at least to some extent.

  • FATCAT716

    Steelers fans obsessed with Tom Brady & the patriots

  • gentry_gee

    Once again just imagine what Brady would do with Ben’s supporting cast. It would be at least 45 points per game. He’d put up 7000 yards passing.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    The thing is that MB draws more attention than the average receiver. This opens everything else, but Bryant still has to make more of the opportunities he is given! I think things will work out. I believe they should let him work the middle of the field and some comeback routes to get him in a groove.

  • gentry_gee

    That’s because they’re the Steelers nemesis. We all know this team doesn’t stand a chance against them come playoff time unless the O brings it for once and carries the load.

  • StillersInThe6

    There’s something inherently wrong with comparing the 2 WRs production on targets when one is told to run as fast as he can in a straight line and look for a 50 yard deep ball, and the other is actually game-planned to catch the ball in space and run.

    MBs behaviour and antics has really skewed the perception of what’s gone on on the field with most fans/media, it seems. MB’s utilization has been atrocious, at best. I don’t understand it, and hope we actually start attempting to realize his talent and not trade him away for pennies, or let that talent rot on the bench as we try to win a SB.

  • CP72

    Gronk, Cooks, Hogan, and Amendola…..the Brady has no weapons narrative is overblown.

    If you could have those 4 or….AB, JuJu, Rogers, and James who are you honestly taking?

  • CP72

    Top to bottom we’re a better team. I truly believe that more than ever.

  • Andrew

    Did you watch him yesterday? Seemed every play was a dumpoff to one of their 4 RBs they rotate. The yardage is there, but he was nowhere near anything great en route to a victory.

  • falconsaftey43

    QB they have an enormous advantage.

  • pittfan

    That could be said of 30 other teams as well.

  • CP72

    Yep…but we have defense to counter that. We’re not playing with Romeo Blake, McCain, or Cockrell anymore.

  • Wayde Philpot

    I think it all starts with Bell. His presence makes defenses respect the run and his abilities as a pass catcher. Play action would work wonders for this team, but i dont see it used often. In most cases, the offense is too deliberate in their intentions. Use Bell as a decoy sometimes to get other guys involved. AB is by far the most reliable WR on the team….Thats why hes #1, but the ball has to get spread around. It was great to see Juju blow up last night….But i feel like players outside of Bell and Brown are after thoughts sometimes. Ben threw to AB in triple coverage last night and got picked off. Thats an example of keying in on a guy when you should prob go somewhere else with the football. Ben’s accuracy has been suspect too at times. He has chemistry with AB, but i feel like hes a bit off target with other guys not putting them in position for yards after catch. Too much talent on the team to not have an explosive offense.

  • Stairway7

    Better than throwing him bubble screens and expecting more tha 4 yards.

  • CountryClub

    This idea that they need to come up with some special plan is just flat out wrong, IMO. He needs to continue to practice hard and take advantage of his chances during the games. Simple as that. Based on Tomlin’s comments last night, they aren’t going to be coddling him any tie soon. The simplest way to get paid by another team in 18 months is to just do your job.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Don’t think our defense matches up particularly well against Brady. Those zone ‘hole shots’ Stafford was nailing last night? Brady lives for those. And he’s got Gronkowski in the red zone to be able to punch it in when he needs to. I don’t think your optimism is well-founded. But we’ll see in December I suppose.

  • CP72

    Brady is a great player, but this defense is a better unit than he faced in the AFC championship and they’re only going to improve.

    Stafford nearly played a flawless game last night and they didn’t score a touchdown.

  • Ray

    I am not big into the idea of trading him and I don’t think he will. A big part of it is what are you really going to get and another part is if you give him away, do you want to see him in the playoffs? I don’t.

    I would move him to get another useful player. Jamison Crowder and stick him in the slot, Eric Ebron to give another option at tight end (yes, I know he drops a lot but can be useful), etc.

    There are a lot of guys on the block so if he is going to sit on the bench maybe he can be used to get a player who will actually help.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    I agree that the talent level on this defense is much higher than last year. Still don’t think the scheme has quite caught up to challenge Brady’s strengths. But I certainly hope we can find a way to solve the New England problem.

  • Intense Camel

    They don’t need a special plan, just a competent one. As well as competent QB play.

  • WilliamSekinger

    No, Brady can not throw those hole shots like Stafford was last night. Stafford was throwing rockets. If Brady tries that against the same defense, he will get picked off or broken up, he just does not have the physical strength anymore.

  • Intense Camel

    Confidence is shot

  • thomas hmmmm

    With as many screens that have been to MB you are really going to say they don’t scheme to get him the ball in space and run?

  • Intense Camel

    Lol yea ok

  • thomas hmmmm

    If we stay in the zone versus TB it will be similar numbers as last night versus Stafford. TB is too good of a qb to stay in a zone D..

  • Intense Camel

    When is there ever space when we run screens?

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Similar passing yards, but probably three TDs versus zero.

  • falconsaftey43

    Could be. I’m sure it doesn’t help to be benched for two games off one muffed punt…only to have AB muff a free kick and a punt in the very next game.

  • AndreH

    I totally agree. Given the lack of experience at the receiver position, and going into the playoff with only one proven receiver would be extremely costly. People forget that Juju Smith is still a rookie, Eli Rogers has been up and down during his time in the lineup, and Justin Hunter is still unproven. The only receiver with any playoff experience besides DHB is MB. You can always get rid of MB during off season if you’re not happy with his progress or his production.

  • falconsaftey43

    Ben certainly hasn’t been great. But Bryant also needs to be ok not being targeted sometimes. Like vs. the Bengals. He was used very often as a vertical threat and drew two guys in coverage consistently, that’s a win for the offense because it opens up stuff underneath. I’m not sure Bryant recognizes that.

  • melblount

    Great post.

  • StillersInThe6

    I’m not saying never (ie. black/white), I’m saying he’s had a few sprinkled in. I’m also saying what % of targets have been deep balls to MB vs. Juju?? Very large discrepancy there – why compare 2 guys who are inherently put in very different positions to make catches; degree of difficulty of MBs targets are exponentially higher than Juju’s.

    Also, MB scores on a simple crossing route and yet offense never tries those again.. it’s just been a very bad job overall of getting MB the ball and in space.

  • Intense Camel

    If we were scoring points with that method it would be a win.

  • falconsaftey43

    Zero interest in Ebron. We have a fast athletic TE that drops the ball, but McDonald is a great blocker, Ebron is not.

  • falconsaftey43

    29 points vs the Bengals D is pretty good. Their problem hasn’t been moving the ball, it’s been scoring in the redzone. They do have the 7th most passing yards per game. I’m not saying it can’t be better, but just because Bryant isn’t being targeted, doesn’t mean it’s a bad plan.

    It’s also clearly going to need some adjusting because Ben’s deep ball this year has been pretty bad. Everyone is having to adjust to that fact, it’s going to take a little while to figured out how to get Bryant more involved when what he always did best isn’t really a great option now.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    The thing is he was good at those even great! Truly a dynamic player. If those plays had been successful would we be in this situation right now?

  • Russell Stauver

    MB needs to understand that the opportunity for him to ever possess a Super Bowl ring is now and with this team. How in the world can he not see that he, AB , JJSS, and Bell are something greater than self. MB is a very important piece to the puzzle. He’s not the whole puzzle.

  • melblount

    They say you can’t win internet debates. Lemme help out on this one – you are right and WK is wrong.

    The BIG issue is QB pressure. Without QB pressure – see last night’s game – we get shredded for BIG yardage.

    QBs as good as Brady and Stafford absolutely shred our coverage schemes sans pressure. The Lions just couldn’t put the thing in the EZ and a BIG part of that is their lack of available RZ targets and RBs. The Patsies HAVE and WILL put the thing in the EZ against us, UNLESS we pressure Brady.

    Sadly, it’s that simple and has been for far too many years vs the Patsies.

    Even sadder is the fact that now we have an aged QB who is a shell of his former self and we have consistently (through eight weeks) shown we are incapable of putting up enough points to beat the like of the Patsies, UNLESS we pressure Brady.

    The NYG took them down in two SBs with consistent, physical QB pressure.

  • NCSteel

    OK. Punishment served.
    Let’s get him going.
    But honestly,
    I’ll temper my expectations at this point.
    Hoping he can get his head right.
    Again.

  • melblount

    Russ, nice post. I’ve said it here before a few times but in case you missed it: MB is inherently as dumb as a bag of rocks and has shown the world what that evolves to after years of smoking dope.

  • Joseph Shaw

    This. It’s the smartest way to approach the situation. He’s been punished–now get him a chance to redeem himself.

  • Justin Warrenfeltz

    Exactly. Our pass rush was non-existent in the AFC title game, and that gave Brady the time he needed to find the holes in our zone and make the throws necessary to win the game.

    The only difference between Stafford last night and Brady in the Playoffs is that Brady made it into the end zone. And I think the main reason for that is lack of weapons around him to punch it in. Give Stafford a player like Gronkowski, and we absolutely would’ve given up a touchdown on at least ONE of those drives. And that would’ve been a losing recipe.

    While I appreciate the work that our defense did in the Red Zone, I don’t find it a reason for optimism against other top-caliber offenses in the league.

  • Bradys_Dad

    The NE offense is deigned for high % shorter throws. It keeps Tommy boy’s jersey nice and clean being able to dump off as he does. It also does wonders for his passer efficiency ratings. This isn’t he most vertical NE offense the league has ever seen.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I know right? It appears that he’s playing far too much in his head. He needs to get out of there and just play. Being benched and helmetless may have had a bigger impact than intended.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Every year it seems that Belechick does more with less than any other coach currently employed. I truly dislike him for that 🙂

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    agreed

  • falconsaftey43

    Didn’t used to this big of a difference though. I used to be pretty confident that Ben could keep us in a game if it became a shoot out. Now, I’m left hoping we never fall behind because if we do, I have little faith we can get back in.

  • FATCAT716

    I’m losing confidence in Ben as well as far as a shootout

  • ThatGuy

    If they played a half decent team yesterday though the Pats would’ve been crushed. Sloppy game from them offensively.

  • pittfan

    I hear ya. He is not as sharp as he was in times past. The numbers and the tape tell the story. I think losing Heath has had a greater effect than we realize. Heath was a great safety blanket.

  • Intense Camel

    I would argue that just about all of Ben’s balls have been bad.
    Deep-overthrows/underthrows
    Intermediate-Misses high
    Short- Off target/behind
    Even that first throw to JuJu was bad. That should have been an easy TD but he literally had to stop running and wait for the ball. The inability to take advantage on easy pitch and catch plays like that (for whatever reason) is killing the offense.

  • Doug Andrews

    MB is the missing piece to this offense. Haley Ben Martavis time to figure it out. Here’s a clue get MB the ball sometimes instead of forcing throws to AB

  • Jack Hambert

    Look at the stat line from the Patriots game. 8 different folks caught passes. No 100 yard receivers. A workmanlike effort from all of their offense. Maybe we need less players that think they are the G.O.A.T and more that bring a lunch pail to Heinz field.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I would like to see 3WR sets with AB; Juju & Martavis. I think that would be difficult to defend.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Especially with JuJu’s coming out party!

  • WB Tarleton

    1) Four yards is just fine most of the time.
    2) The first play of the game last night to JuJu was the direct result of those bubble screens.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Bryant is a beast, a physical monster, they’re best WR physically, bar none. Best vertical of ALL those receivers. Period. See Utube footage of extremely high box jump. Why they can’t figure out what to do with him in the Red Zone especially near the goal line makes absolutely no sense other than they just have no confidence in the QBs accuracy to put the ball where it needs to be. They don’t want to risk End Zone interceptions. Second this just can’t be all Bryant’s fault this year especially considering other receivers such as Rogers seem to have fallen off. So I can’t be critical of these receivers until the QB is completely on point. And that has not happened not even close this year. Can’t give a fair honest grade and assessment of these receivers and tight ends until that quarterback gets his act together. It all starts and ends with the quarterback. The offense is only as good as he is. That’s why you see it struggling this year and that’s why you see multiple receivers not looking as good as they should.

  • Gizmosteel

    No team will sleep on juju after last night.

  • Gizmosteel

    Agreed. But then do you sacrifice Bell?

  • H.K. northern cali

    Steelers going draft a we within the first 4rds next yr??

  • thegoodzz

    no he wouldnt

  • Kevin Reich

    Anyone see D. Watson dropping bombs in his receivers bread basket? In stride that was pretty. Need Ben to get back to that.

  • Ray

    He would replace Grimble…whats the problem with him replacing Grimble. There is WAY too much love for him. Putting Ebron and McDonald or Ebron and James on the field at the same time just forces defenses to give another look

  • francesco

    I didn’t know this… but WR Marvin Jones left Cincinnati to go to the Lions because he knew that AJ Green would forever be the #1 receiver. Now look what he is doing for his new team. If you believe in yourself you take that risk. Of course you need to go where there is a good quarterback to throw you the ball.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    he can be RB or 4th WR

  • NinjaMountie

    What about the WRs that do look as good as they should or are better than expected. I agree that Ben hasn’t been his usual self. However, your evaluation method doesn’t hold up if other WRs are producing…….AB and JuJu.
    It’s not all MBs fault. It’s mostly his, though.

  • NinjaMountie

    If MB wants to get more touches he needs to focus on routes other than the go route (this is on Haley as well). He gets tackled to easily on the WR screens this year. This stuns me as he used to be better when he was thinner and less strong.
    MB has the talent but he hasn’t been performing well.

  • francesco

    I agree.
    Their centre Andrews is lights out. Going to be not so easy putting pressure on Brady with their OL protection.

  • francesco

    Ben is going fishing. See you all in two weeks😊

  • francesco

    And JuJu can block like a TE.

  • SilverSteel

    I watched it and yes, there are some really young talented QBs out there now. I don’t think Ben can get back to that. He can’t move around anymore and that was his bread and butter. Bummer to watch but had to happen sooner or later.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    And that statement going forward will make teams play us extra honest! I love it!

  • gentry_gee

    There’s that, but they throw it deep too. He can make all the throws and makes ordinary short white guys look like superstars. No one QB has excelled with less than Brady. He is clearly the greatest QB of all-time and it’s not even close anymore after last year’s SB.

  • Scott N.

    You know, that’s what Haley’s offense was supposed to be about. It was just a few years ago that Ben had one of his best seasons doing what NE’s offense does. Short quick passes, with a few deep balls to keep defenses honest. What happened to that?

  • Joecool328

    Brady has more yards with his current cast, than BR has with his . . . and the last time Brady had a “real” receiver in Moss, he threw for 50 TD’s in a year.
    Bottom line Brady at 40 is better than Ben at 35.

  • Bradys_Dad

    Had the Falcons coaches known anything about clock management they never would have lost that SB. Instead of working every second off the clock prior to the snap, they either got stupid of got cocky as they repeatedly left time on the clock. As we all know, give Brady time and you’re not gonna like the results. The Falcons gave that one away.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    It could also be the type of targets…he’s mainly used as a decoy or gets low % bombs, that is most frustrating. It is also easy to scout/cover. It seems like they run the some route combos over and over. Why not have the WR’s flip the script and have different receivers run different route combos to thoroughly confuse D’s. Perhaps I’m mistaken.

    Last nite BR’s interception was a prime example…triple effing coverage. Someone else had to be open.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    They might not be as physically talented but they are great at what they’re asked to do….IMHO

  • Matthew Marczi

    There’s really no winning here. Some people complain that they’re not using Bryant “the right way” because he’s not getting deep targets. Then I point out how many deep targets he gets and then I get this. But he’s gotten plenty of shorter targets as well, and he’s dropped one, had another he should have been able to hang onto through contact, and has generally been unable to break a tackle.

  • thomas hmmmm

    You are not factoring in how Defenses scheme for MB and don’t scheme for JuJu. That plays a large role in all of this. D’s do not want Bryant beating them deep or even in the middle of the field. They are very conscious of MB on every play. JuJu not so much.. Yet!

  • thomas hmmmm

    LOL Exactly. I would go with 4 out of 5 if it were TB instead of the 0 for 5 that the Lions had.

  • thomas hmmmm

    This year it seems never.. I would like to see more of short crossing patterns like in last nights game. Also I wouldn’t mind a everyone go deep play sprinkled in here and there. Not all go routes but everyone on medium and deep routes on like a 1st or 2nd down. Not the 3rd 1 which every D is expecting now.

  • heath miller

    no doubt justin .. it jsut looks to me like ben is scarred to death .. like he is one concussion away from retirement IMHO

  • heath miller

    not a doubt in my mind u are dead on

  • heath miller

    ugh .. our 4… and you might toss in a guy you left out .. bell DING DING DING

  • heath miller

    but thats one game … ok here is my Q to you andrew.. if you could have ben or brady who do you take.. and anyone that says ben has never seen a game.. i love ben .. i was so happy the day we drafted him .. and hes had a great career …. but .. hes never been a brady ….

  • heath miller

    joey i think what you are saying … and i totally agree. they are better coached and NE coaching staff gets more out of the talent that they have than we do … and it starts with the head coach … he looses all kinds of coordinators year after year.. and they remain great … starts at the top.. i think we have a very good coach .. not great

  • pittfan

    JJ has more yards and tds on same # Of attempts. Who’s throwing the ball to JJ?

  • SilverSteel

    Hey now. Us short white guys can ball too. 🎃

  • SilverSteel

    Yes, I remember that. We ain’t been right since we started throwing all those money balls to Coates.

  • Andrew

    Thanks for answering your own question

  • SilverSteel

    Stafford was slinging the rock with authority. My wife noticed the difference in the two QBs. One had confidence and precision. I think we come out of this bye though with Ben recalibrated. I’ve come to the conclusion it is all in his head. He looks distracted out there but he’ll get over it. It has to be the newborn kids in his life. They will sap you of any extra energy.

  • SilverSteel

    Yeah those were some stout NY fronts. They were after him all game. And he did not look the same with pressure.

  • SilverSteel

    Truly

  • SilverSteel

    Yet, you got that right.

  • SilverSteel

    AND, our attempts at play action don’t fool anyone because we don’t sell it. We just go through a lackluster motion of play action and that is on Ben. Watch some of these rookies sell the PA. I’m fooled and I have a huge HDTV.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    I also think it helps when the system stays the same…The coordinators may change but the system stays the same. The players can run that offense and defense in their sleep. Peyton Manning hadnthe same offense for his whole career. It helps I believe

  • Mark

    Trade MB away. He is developmentally a child and this will not improve. He will continue to cry. Let JuJu loose!

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    Another thing is JuJu is a more complete receiver than Bryant.Bryant won’t make tough catches across the middle like JuJu . But good thing is we don’t need him to. Just let him go deep and catch a few slants. Until he grows as a receiver that’s the only way he can contribute.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Juju and Bryant are completely different skill sets and receiver types. Bryant doesn’t have to do what Juju does necessarily nor does juju have to do what Bryant does necessarily. Martavis Bryant is a six foot four 225 lb + wr running a sub 4.4 40 with massive explosive 40-inch vertical. That is a physical nightmare for defensive backs!!! Juju Schuster is not that and has different responsibilities and rightly so. Bryant is much more physical this year and needs to be used in the Red Zone heavily.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    This so-called chemistry is nothing more than Antonio Brown being the best able receiver they have that catches the bad balls that Roethlisberger throws too often. There’s no other receiver on that team with better hands than brown and better concentration enough to catch all those many badly thrown balls

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Juju is a rookie and there isn’t much tape on him yet. Brown on the other hand draws double and triple coverage constantly. Big difference between brown and Smith production. Brown just happens to be the best receiver on that team able to catch all those mentally badly thrown balls. Brown is the best bad ball catcher they have. And Roethlisberger obviously gives Brown many more opportunities. But Roethlisberger can’t constantly look toward Brown he has to look for someone else and it happens at the Schuster. I think Haley recognizes Roethlisberger’s limitations that’s why they have their offense run based first and in the pass game they have Roethlisberger looking over half the field not the full field which explains why he doesn’t go through all of his progressions because he’s not fast enough to see them all. I don’t think Roethlisberger is quick enough to see more than one or maybe two receivers at a time. Schuster just happens to be one of the two receivers now which makes him look good. Give me a Drew Brees type quarterback and I guarantee you all those weapons will shine at the same time looking good.

  • NinjaMountie

    I’m not saying that Ben is the best QB in the league. I’ve never said that, even when he was in his prime. However, saying Ben can only read half a field is just ridiculous. There is just too much tape on him doing that his whole career, this year included.
    Does he lock in on AB too much? Yes he does.
    QB and WR relationship relies on a lot of timing and more than a little trust. Ben trusts AB. He seems to trust JuJu. He doesn’t trust MB and he has good reason.
    Ben isn’t playing his best, no doubt. He is more than capable, and often does, progress through multiple reads.

  • Russell Stauver

    So much talent, so little wisdom……

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    In never said they were the same and as far as the responsibilities I said that JuJu makes the tougher catches inside while Bryant catches the deep balls and slants. I don’t see where Bryant is more physical this year at all, he looks bigger but itdoes not show in his play. As tall as he is he hasn’t been much of a redbone target since being drafted.He has not and probably won’t ever make contested catches consistently like Antonio or Ju. I like him but he has not improved much since his rookie year.

  • heath miller

    no doubt in the world .. agree

  • StillersInThe6

    I agree with that, which lends to my argument that it’s an unfair comparison! 😉

  • StillersInThe6

    Well I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I honestly can’t remember the drop, nor the “plenty” of shorter targets. Sure I remember a few screens that didn’t even get a chance to do anything (which wasn’t on him). But highlighting a drop seems unfair – Juju had a bad drop in the last game, it happens from time to time. I think the sample size on catchable balls in space to MB is not NEARLY big enough to make any conclusions on how he’s done on them. To be honest I can’t really recall one or two of those balls in space where he has a legit opportunity to make something of it.

  • Matthew Marczi

    He has seen 17 targets that have come within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. He has dropped two targets (one on a short pass on the first drive of the season, one on a deep target on the first play against the Bears), and had another pass against the Jaguars that he should have caught and secured well before a defender hit him and caused him to drop it. Drops happen, but Bryant has a long history of drops. He had about a dozen in 11 games in 2015. And yes, he should be able to get more separation. And he should be able to make tacklers miss on underneath throws.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Hasn’t improved??? Do you understand what Improvement is? Improvement has a lot to do with the quarterback getting him the ball and or the routes he’s assigned. He doesn’t assign his routes and he doesn’t throw the ball to himself; he can only run what they tell him to run and if they’re not telling him to run the tough contested routes then he’s not getting them. Trust me 6-foot 4 220 – 225 lb worth of muscle can handle tough routes over the middle. For a player so supposedly unimproved there sure were a lot of teams begging for a trade to get him. It’s not his fault they can’t or don’t know how to use him in the red zone and a quarterback not Swift enough to execute in tight windows nor accurate enough to get him the ball

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    You realize a slant route or any slanted route toward the middle of the field is a very tough and physical catch. And getting under deep balls require some contesting. No wide receiver simply runs down the field and is completely wide open every time they’ve got to fight for the ball. Bryant does both. They don’t give him the routes that bring him across the middle on crossers enough and they definitely don’t use him in the red zone enough.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    He had some plays on slant routes but they weren’t contested he rarely ever makes tough catches where the defender is right on him. So for you to say that he doesn’t run those routes is bull he only makes the play if it’s pretty much wide open same as the deep balls.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    I know exactly what improvement is and it has nothing to with anyone else but that player. Yeah Ben has been off this year but it hasn’t stop Brown and JuJu from putting up numbers. He runs the same routes as other receivers and the best route he runs is the go but he is not creating the same seperation that he did his rookie year. I know exactly how big and tall he is but that does not mean you make contested catches. Tell you what invest in Nfl game pass and watch the all 22 version on the game and tell me where the seperation is or where he’s making contested catches. I starting to wonder if the added muscle he put on this year is what taking some of his agility away. Last time he was dynamic on screens and some slants and handoffs but now he has no shake. Again I like Bryant but he is not the same this year for whatever reason I suspect it’s the year off rust and the added muscle.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    No. Juju is not running the same routes he’s not even playing the same position. There is another article just posted in Steelers Depot in which Roethlisberger himself said so. Meaning they’re not the same players playing the same position which goes back to what I said they don’t have the same responsibilities. If anything those first two years Bryant played underweight. He’s exactly where he should be physically right now for someone his size. And the only receiver flourishing is brown. Juju is a rookie and defenses haven’t adjusted to him yet. But saying Brian doesn’t look the same makes no sense when the quarterback play is way sub par. You speak as if Roethlisberger has played his a game and no one else has. When you understand the off-season training that Bryant has done and returns to the team in better physical conditioning then you don’t make comments like you made. You are aware Bryant was timed in the 40 and he’s lost no speed and in fact looks every bit as fast if not faster according to teammates.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Slant routes are not wide open by definition. Slant routes run right into the teeth of the box. You apparently must not have ever Run one. Bryant is not used on crossers at all. He’s rarely used underneath needing to battle like you expect hes supposed to But anytime you run a go route against a defensive back and both are battling for the ball that is a contested play. You act as though every pass he’s ever caught no defensive back was ever within 5 yards of him.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    First off if you played football you there are but so many routes that can be run so of course they have run the same routes. I Also know they play different positions. Never denied any of that. I know what his 40 time is and I’m aware he didn’t lose a step. I also said that Ben has been off but others have a adjusted. I said Bryant does not look as agile as before not that he is slower I’m sure you know the difference between agility and speed. For instance those screens, slants, and handoffs that he used to juke and outrun defenders have not happened this year even tho hes bigger and stronger as you say but he goes down on the first tackle why is that?🤔Also you can come in built Ike a government mule but there is no substitute for getting into football shape. Ask Leveon and he only missed preseason how do you think that rust affects Bryant who’s been out over a year? Again Ben could be better but Bryant is rusty and not as AGILE as before . Could be the rust ,could be that he came back a little too big. Not out of shape but there is a correlation with having to much muscle and losing agility. Same reason that Amari Cooper came back jacked and he’s struggling. Bell made it a point to lose weight 3 years in a row and each time he came back more agile. What made Bryant special was that he was a big guy but moved with the agility of a small receiver.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    Again you need to check an all 22 and watch the routes that he runs lol He has run plenty of slants. I have run plenty of slants my self I’ve started at split end and flanker. I also played safety by the way so I know exactly how to run them and how to defend them. Also being wide open doesn’t mean the defender isn’t there for example if Bryant has two steps on a defender on a go route hes wide open. For NFL standards. Your delusional if you don’t think some one can be wide open on a slant you either don’t pay attention or you never played football. Watch a patriots game and see do you see people wide open on slants 😂

  • StillersInThe6

    I think you’re being way overly critical and cherry picking here of a mostly terrific (borderline amazing) start to a young career (off-field antics aside), but lets agree to disagree.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m not nitpicking, I’m saying what’s happened. It’s a small enough sample size where these things stick out. And I’m not talking about his career, I’m talking about this year. He hasn’t been the same player yet this season.

  • Ehrren Lee Phyzeque

    Played & have 9 yrs worth of ball under the belt Bro, including beyond HS. PLayed OLB & seen my share of slants. And yes, by NFL standards if a wr is as open as you suggest it generally has something to do with schemes the type of schemes Haley doesn’t seem to run and or Roethlisberger isn’t good at. That’s not Bryants fault. NE is a hellova lot different in those looks because their quarterback is Far and away more accurate. The Steelers do not send Bryant over the middle of the field much less many of their receivers except the tight end and they don’t throw it to the tight end enough there either. In fact Bryant isn’t even put in enough situations in order for him to even contest a ball like you would want or are suggesting. Eg, Bryant is hardly ever in RZ offense. What Bryant is doing now on his end is enough. The burden is on the quarterback especially & the OC. I’ve been watching this team since 1976. You weren’t even born then. I’ve seen practically every receiver they’ve had since then. Martavis Bryant is the most physically gifted they’ve ever had.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    I never said you didn’t play football you questioned if I had ever run a slant route that why I said and I played on the next level as well. The statement you made that the Steeler never run their receivers over the middle show you have no idea what your talking about lol. What dies everyone say about Todd Haleys offense? It’s dink and dunk with no deep shots just crossing routes. You being older has nothing to do with the players not. I never argued that Bryant was most “physically gifted ” receiver we have. I said that Ju Ju was a more polished receiver over all. Anybody with two eyes and any football knowledge knows. As far as the red zone Bryant has never played up to his size that’s why he hasn’t gotten many targets this year. They used to target him before the suspension but he rarely came down with the ball. The statistics can easy prove what I’m saying.