December 23, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) runs after a pass reception as Cincinnati Bengals strong safety Chris Crocker (left) defends during the third quarter at Heinz Field. The Cincinnati Bengals won 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: Can Heath Miller pick it up in second half of the season?


There have been many disappointments for the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first half of the 2013 season and tight end Heath Miller has to be considered one of the major ones.

Miller came back from major knee surgery last December rather quickly and while it is nice to see No. 83 out there every Sunday, the 2013 campaign has definitely been a subpar one for Miller.

Oct 20, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller (83) fumbles the ball as he is hit by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Daryl Smith (51) during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

He will insist that his knee has nothing to do with the less than spectacular results, but common sense may tell you otherwise. Sure Miller has been cleared by the medical staff and is able to play, but the question you have to ask is when he will be fully recovered to play at the high level we are accustomed to seeing?

Not everyone is Adrian Peterson. What he did coming off of major knee surgery is unheard of. In most cases it takes time.

That could be the case with Miller as he doesn’t look the same catching the football nor in run blocking.

Last week against the Buffalo Bills, he made only one catch and graded a career-worst minus-5.3 in Pro Football Focus’ evaluation. He dropped two passes and was beaten six times by a defender who went on to make a tackle.

On the season, Miller has caught only 25 passes in seven games played and only one touchdown, which came on a shovel pass. More disturbing have been the drops, which have been coming more frequently. He has been targeted at least five times in every game but one, but the production simply hasn’t been there.

He also hasn’t shown to be the dominant blocker he has in the past, which is also concerning. For the Steelers offense to succeed, Miller has to be a big part of both of the passing and running game.

There are seven games left for him to salvage what has been a very disappointing season to date. Can Miller do exactly that or should we already turn the calendar to next season?

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