Nick Vannett comfortable in Steelers debut as No. 1 tight end
There is only one man in the NFL right now who has won two games at Heinz Field this season. The man who’s the only player to have two wins against the Cincinnati Bengals, too.
Tight end Nick Vannett won his debut with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, six days after being acquired via trade and 15 days after he’d beaten the Steelers as a member of the Seattle Seahawks.
“Yeah, 2-0 right now (at Heinz Field),” Vannett said after the 27-3 win against the Bengals on Monday night. “We want to keep that streak going.”
Vannett played extensively after just three practices as part of the organization. This was necessary because the Steelers were without starting tight end Vance McDonald because of a shoulder injury, and former No. 2 Xavier Grimble was placed on injured reserve last week.
Vannett played in the “Kings” personnel grouping that the Steelers use most (three wide receivers, one running back, one tight end), but that was about it.
Most fun I’ve had playing football in idk how long. Beyond ecstatic to be apart of this organization !! #HereWeGo
— Nick Vannett (@N_Vannett81) October 1, 2019
“They didn’t want to fill my plate up too much,” the four-year NFL veteran said. “I pretty much just stuck with the ‘Y’ stuff.
“Some of the other packages, they wanted to throw (rookie Zach Gentry) in there. They didn’t want to throw too many packages at me right away, but I think as we go through in the season we can start adding some things and start learning some more things in the offense and just go from there.”
Vannett had two catches on two targets for 28 yards, including a 17-yard reception in the fourth quarter that helped set up a touchdown that made it 17-3. Vannett, who was credited with his 17th start in what was his 43rd NFL game, was part of a Steelers blocking corps that did not allow one hit on quarterback Mason Rudolph.
“We talked about it on (Wednesday) at the press conference in that we were going to teach him what we needed him to do, and put him in a position to contribute,” coach Mike Tomlin said of Vannett, who was acquired for a 2020 fifth-round pick. “And then we get a chance to double back and teach some broader principles in an effort to improve that quality of his play this week, but appreciate his efforts. Appreciate his contributions. It was a good week for him and us.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .