Steelers Sub-Par Running Game Will Open The Door For TE Heath Miller

Eddie RossellCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2009

PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 11:  Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tries to gain a few more yards as Chris Hope #24 of the Tennessee Titans makes the tackle on September 11, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Steelers defeated the Titans 13-10 in overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Steelers run game has been dormant for a little over a year and the team has had to rely on its defense and Ben Roethlisberger's arm to continue to win ball games.

And this year looks like it is going to be no different.

The Steelers runningbacks rushed for a grand total of 33 yards on 22 attempts in last Thursday's overtime win against the Titans. That is definitely not going to cut it if Pittsburgh is going to make a serious title defense.

The team is going to have to rely on Big Ben's passing ability for the time being until the running game works itself out.

And one of the big keys for the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is going to have to be big TE Heath Miller.

He had several good years from 2005 to 2007 with '07 being his best season to date.

During that season alone he caught nine TD passes and had over 550 yards and 40+ catches.

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And over that three-year period, Miller had 120 receptions for a total of 1418 yards and 18 TDs.

Last season was a down year in the touchdown department for Miller—he had just three—but when your QB only throws 17 TDs, you can't expect major numbers from one of his receivers, let alone a tight end.

He still caught a career high 48 passes for 514 yards, but with his potential, he should exceed that.

A big problem with the way the Steelers' offense operated last year was that Miller was not utilized as he much as he could've been. Especially down in the red zone, TEs thrive, but Heath wasn't used there very often.

Even though the team won it's sixth Lombardi Trophy, the offense definitely could have produced more and made it a bit easier for the defense.

Miller is going to have to be one of the major cogs in the machine that is the Steelers' offense in order for it to be effective. And with two very young, still unproven receivers at the third and fourth spots on the depth chart, Miller's role should be big.

If Steelers' offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and Roethlisberger look his way as often as they need to this season, I expect Miller to reach 50, and possibly 60 receptions for well over 650, or 700 yards and around six to eight TDs.

A pretty big year for a guy like him in an offense like Pittsburgh's.