The Pittsburgh Steelers have been searching for a long-term answer at tight end ever since Heath Miller retired and it seems as though that they have finally found his reliable replacement in second-year standout, Pat Freiermuth. He is coming off a rookie season where he had 60 receptions for 497 yards and seven touchdowns. He was used as a security blanket on third down and was second on the team in receiving touchdowns.
After a strong season, players are bound to get more responsibilities the following year and that holds true for Freiermuth. Steelers tight end coach, Alfredo Roberts was interviewed by Ray Fittipaldo and spoke on the red zone threat’s role for 2022 and much more.
Roberts’ first comments were regarding Freiermuth’s abilities as a receiver. His skill set was surprising to many including Roberts.
“You saw what he did at Penn State,” said Roberts. “Then he comes in, and he had a lot more value in the passing game once you see how he moved, found that space and could get open.”
Freiermuth, who was upset with his disappointing 8.2 yards per reception last season, had many plays dialed up down the middle of the field for him a year ago, but according to Roberts, they simply never worked out.
“I would say sometimes the ball just doesn’t find you. You call certain things and the ball goes different places. Matt [Canada] does a nice job of calling those things and giving him opportunities, but sometimes whatever happens, and the ball just doesn’t get there.”
The Steelers tight ends coach was very clear in saying how involved he expects Freiermuth to be in the offense in his second year. He expects him to be a significant piece of an offense that has plenty of weapons all over the place.
“We’re going to focus on that and try to expand his role. He has the ability to make catches down the field and make down-the-field plays. He wants to do that. But the ball has to find him. You can’t force it.”
The ball finding him will largely be in part to the chemistry and connection the tight end has with whoever is under center at quarterback. He recently suffered a hamstring injury that has caused him to miss valuable time to work with both Mitch Trubisky and Kenny Pickett.
Steelers’ Freiermuth Leans On Retired Miller
Freiermuth has also begun to create a relationship with Miller who is considered the best tight end in the franchise’s history. The conversations and interactions between the two aren’t taken advantage of by Miller’s descendant.
“I lean on him,” said Freiermuth. “I use his experiences. We were talking about going from the first year to the second year, what he learned, how he adjusted. Learning that, it was helpful.”
Miller was a staple in the black and gold for 11 years and Steelers fans are hoping that Freiermuth will be around just as long, if not longer. With the amount of offensive firepower the team possesses, the starting tight end is going to have the ability to get wide open and create some plays in space this year. We will see as we move forward in the preseason what kind of expanded role Freiermuth will have. The most important thing is his health , getting back to where he should be physically and being 100% come Week 1.
Are you looking forward to watching the Steelers tight end have an expanded role throughout the 2022 season? Let us know in the comments below!