Sometimes, the most important players on a team, whose contributions are not always visible for everyone to see. Even if they are small, they make them count for the benefit of their team.
Last season, James Washington led all Pittsburgh Steelers in both total receiving yards and yards per reception. Surely, there was no rookie named Chase Claypool last season, but Washington had established himself as a viable offense asset, with his acrobatic catches and deep threat abilities.
With the emergence of Claypool, the Steelers are as deep at the receiver position as they have been in recent memory. With the amount of weapons at his disposal, task of feeding each receiver equally is a challenging one. Yet, part of the success of this Steelers squad so far, has stemmed from the selfless nature of each player on the field.
Despite a reduction in his targets, Washington currently holds a respectable catch percentage of 68.45%. What has become evident, is the dramatic improvement in executing shorter routes. During his time with Oklahoma State, Washington was known for his ability to the opposing defensive backs downfield with his vertical speed. Washington took it upon himself to work on his areas of weakness, for the purpose of becoming a more complete receiver.
For Washington, it is only a matter of time when he will execute a play that will remind the masses of how special he is. For now, he continues to contribute in ways that may not seem spectacular, but should pay dividends during the course of the season. Even if they cannot all be seen, they are present and making a difference.