Grimble was not targeted in Pittsburgh's 21-18 win over Cleveland on Sunday. Grimble played just one offensive snap and appears to have fallen to third on the depth chart at tight end, at least for now, behind Jesse James and Vance McDonald.
Grimble caught three passes for 26 yards and a touchdown Saturday against the Colts. The catches were the first this preseason for Grimble and did not come until after halftime in Pittsburgh's 19-15 loss. He was the third tight end to see any targets but still figures to be in the mix with Jesse James and Dave Johnson once the regular season begins.
Grimble is currently expected to serve as the Steelers' second-string tight end, but he could make a push for the starting job if his consistency improves, Bob Labriola of Steelers.com reports. Grimble is pegged behind Jesse James at tight end after the Steelers released Ladarius Green (concussion) in May. Although he only caught 11 passes on 21 targets for 118 yards and two scores as a rookie, Grimble has reportedly shown flashes lately, which could allow him to put pressure on James. However, in order to do so, Grimble will need to show more reliable hands, and whether he does so is something to monitor once training camp begins.
Grimble could see an uptick in snaps and targets as a result of Ladarius Green (concussion) being released, PennLive.com's Lauren Kirschman reports. Jesse James was the obvious beneficiary when Green was unavailable last season, making 13 starts in 16 games and catching 39 of 60 targets for 338 yards (8.7 per catch) and three touchdowns. While his blocking ability makes him a clear favorite to reprise the starting role, James can't provide the kind of downfield threat presented by Green, who produced 16.9 yards per catch on his 19 receptions last season. Grimble wasn't exactly a big-play threat last year -- averaging 10.7 yards on 11 catches -- but he does have the potential to fill a niche that's closer to what the Steelers hoped to get out of Green. It's thus possible Grimble will replace James in obvious passing situations, which could even out the distribution of targets between the two. Such a situation would prevent both players from achieving fantasy relevance in a Pittsburgh offense that figures to heavily rely on its wide receivers and Le'Veon Bell in the passing game.
Grimble signed a one-year, $540,000 contract with the Steelers, Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The contract represents the NFL minimum for a player with one year of service time. An exclusive rights free agent, Grimble caught 11 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games this season, and will likely be competing for a backup tight end spot next season.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|6||10/15||@Kansas City Chiefs||9||5.00|
|12||11/27||Green Bay Packers||1||1.00|
|15||12/17||New England Patriots||31||12.00|
|3 Year Avg||21||11||118||2||8||10.73||23|