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Time to Shine for Martavis Bryant

June 16, 2017
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Time to Shine for Martavis Bryant

Martavis Bryant has a point to prove. After showing glimpses of quality throughout the 2015 campaign, the Steelers wide receiver was suspended for the entire 2016 season. Pittsburgh didn’t miss Bryant too much but his return will give Mike Tomlin’s men an added dimension on offense and it could free up the likes of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell to wreak havoc.

According to ESPN, Bryant recorded 50 catches in 11 appearances in 2015, at an average of 15.3 yards per reception. Impressively, 50% of those catches resulted in a first down for the Steelers offense and ‘Big’ Ben Roethlisberger will welcome his return. Another target in the passing game can only mean positive things for Pittsburgh’s potent offensive unit.

Only time will tell but Bryant could be Pittsburgh’s main difference maker as they attempt to pip the New England Patriots to the AFC Conference title. At the time of writing, the Steelers are priced at +450 to win the AFC in NFL odds on bet365 and Tomlin will be keen to utilise all of his talented options on offense. On the other side of the ball, there are still question marks but you cannot criticise Pittsburgh’s attack.

Given an enhanced role, Bryant can show the Steelers that he is not without talent. Yes, his temperament and conduct have raised a few eyebrows in the past but everybody deserves a second chance and Pittsburgh will be keen to see just how influential he can be. Bryant is no Antonio Brown but his potential has no boundaries; let’s see how he performs in this stacked Steelers offense.

When Bryant is good, he’s very good. He torched AFC North rivals Cleveland Browns for 178 yards off six receptions back in November 2015 and Pittsburgh will expect similar levels of production this season. The Steelers are blessed with one of the best offensive lines in the National Football League and they should allow plenty of time for Bryant to get open and more often than not, Roethlisberger will connect.

Without a doubt, the 25-year-old has plenty to prove and Steelers fans will demand focus and impact. NFL Network have projected Bryant to make it to the Pro Bowl this year and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Pittsburgh man do just that. You could argue that the Steelers have one of the strongest offensive units in the NFL and Bryant will benefit directly from added looks in the passing game.

Tomlin will try to get Bryant involved early on in the season and the Steelers could adopt a pass-heavy approach for the most part of the 2017 campaign. However, it would be foolish to forget about Le’Veon Bell in the running game and his presence should open up space out wide. Bell’s versatility and influence may affect Bryant’s own impact on a personal level but by the same token, extra focus on Bell may mean that Bryant can take advantage of favourable matchups.

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