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Steelers snap counts vs. Ravens show increase in rookie playing time, finally

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a weird, yet riveting, 17-10 win over rival Baltimore Ravens, and in doing so it is worth taking a look at how they were able to cling to victory. Of course we all know about Miles Killebrew’s blocked punt, T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith saving the day, but also the team’s ability to finally let some of their rookies play significant snaps.

The latter of the three reasons for victory is something the fan base has been clamoring for over the past four weeks, especially cornerback Joey Porter Jr. While the below snap counts don’t show a significant jump in rookie snaps, the increase is a welcome sight for fans of the black and gold. The hope is this trend will continue post-bye week when the team prepares for their Week 7 game in Los Angeles.

Take a look at the snap counts below:

Before fans start celebrating the increase in rookie snaps, two players who saw significant bumps in playing time were due to injuries to players ahead of them on the depth chart. That would be tight end Darnell Washington, playing more for the injured Pat Freiermuth, and Broderick Jones, who started his first game in place of Dan Moore Jr.

However, the increased usage of Keeanu Benton (47% of snaps) and Porter Jr. (40%) is what the fan base has been looking for the past few weeks. Benton’s play has not only improved, but he has proven to be more versatile than many believed while Cam Heyward is on Injured Reserve (IR). Meanwhile, Porter Jr. has been a significant player when he gets on the field.

Many believe the team should bench either Levi Wallace or Patrick Peterson in lieu of Porter, but the reality of the situation is they’ll likely need all three defensive backs to help bolster a shaky back end of the defense. However, Porter has proven he is worthy for a much larger role on the defense, and should hold true after the bye week. Then again, fans have thought this for the past few weeks only to be disappointed on game days.

The Steelers top three picks in 2023 are starting to pan out, and it should only get better from here! Be sure to stay tuned to SCN for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Los Angeles Rams following their bye week.

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