Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Eli Rogers hasn’t backed up the hype he created during training camp.
Rogers made a name for himself with an impressive camp and preseason, but has only caught 13 passes in seven games. He missed two games while dealing with a turf toe injury, but told reporters he was a healthy scratch for Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots. Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wishes Rogers will get back on the field soon, but added he needs to stay focused.
“That’s what’s so upsetting about him not being on the field — we want him to be out there because I see what he can bring to this offense,” Roethlisberger said, according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. “We just need him to be out there.”
Roethlisberger’s quote hints at a possible issue with Rogers’ work ethic, which is surprising considering how he came out of nowhere to earn a roster spot. Pittsburgh kept Rogers with the hope he could be a complementary weapon and work in the middle of the defense.
That plan hasn’t exactly worked out. Outside of Antonio Brown, none of Pittsburgh’s wide receivers have been overly consistent. In fact, the team’s second-leading receiver is running back Le’Veon Bell, who was suspended for the first three games of the season. Sammie Coates has been Pittsburgh’s second-best wide receiver, with 20 catches for 425 yards and 2 touchdowns. Darrius Heyward-Bey and Markus Wheaton have also chipped in sparingly.
Eventually, the Steelers will need consistent depth to elevate their offense to another level. Rogers’ emergence could be pivotal in that regard.