A few days after Mike Tomlin conveyed some satisfaction—and even surprise—at what Darrius Heyward-Bey was bringing to the Steelers, the veteran wideout backed up his coach.
Tomlin mostly praised the former first round pick for his work in the third phase of the game—special teams. Heyward-Bey showed up on offense too on Thursday night.
On a night that the backup offense looked pretty dismal, Heyward-Bey looked like a bright spot. He was the only Steelers receiver with more than two catches—he had six. He was consistently getting open, and seemed to have the trust of Landry Jones and Brendon Kay.
It’s worth noting that guys fighting for the same spot at wide receiver shared the field with Heyward-Bey. It is also worth noting that the quarterback underthrew him on a go route down the sideline. Had the ball been more accurate, he had a chance to rack up a huge chunk of yards.
Heyward-Bey will likely never live up to where he was drafted when he came out of college, but he has the look of a player willing to do what it takes to make this team—that type of player tends to also do what it takes to win.
If Heyward-Bey is content to give his all on special teams and come in on the occasional empty set or when a fellow wideout needs a breather, then there should be a spot for the speedster.
Though it can often be a part of the game during which you head to the kitchen for another slice of pizza or another beer, special teams can also be the difference between winning and losing. If a guy can be a quality backup AND be more than that on special teams, he deserves a spot on the roster.
Given the results of the Steelers’ preseason campaign, they will need all the help they can get to eek out the wins necessary to enter the playoffs.
Do you guys think that Heyward-Bey deserves a shot? See what he has to say.