Many believed that Will Johnson was primed to enjoy a breakout season this fall for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With Heath Miller expected to be hobbled for an extended period, Johnson was expected to step up as a threat in the red zone as a pass receiver for the Steelers. To his credit, Johnson showed plenty of promise as Pittsburgh’s starting fullback as a rookie when he recorded 15 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Everything appeared to be falling into place for Johnson to succeed until he sustained injuries to his hamstring and ribs during preseason play. In addition to his health issues, problems with Pittsburgh’s offense has led to almost zero chances for the starting fullback to shine in the red zone or anywhere else on the field.
Despite the fact that his playing time has been limited (only seven snaps total), Johnson is still prepared to contribute as much as he possibly can if he is called upon as a pass receiver or a run blocker according to Mark Kaboly of The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
I have to be ready to go, … You never know what the circumstances are, but hopefully this week we will get the run game going and they will use me more.
Unfortunately for Johnson, he might not see the field very often against the Bears if Miller and Markus Wheaton play as expected. Without a competent running game, Pittsburgh might also have to go to more of a pass-based and spread-out offensive strategy. That in turn could leave Johnson on the sidelines for much of the team’s third regular season contest.
Johnson’s competent hands however could still make him a viable weapon if and when Pittsburgh’s offense enters the red zone. Whatever transpires tomorrow and throughout the rest of the season though, Johnson appears ready to help his team in any capacity when his number is called.
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