Rookie Zach Gentry part of Steelers game plan for 1st time – as a blocker | TribLIVE.com
Steelers/NFL

Rookie Zach Gentry part of Steelers game plan for 1st time – as a blocker

Chris Adamski
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Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Steelers tight end Zach Gentry all smiles after pulling in his first touchdown catch in the third quarter against the Buccaneers Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 at Heinz Field.

Rookie tight end Zach Gentry readily acknowledges he entered the NFL with a reputation for potential as an athletic pass-catcher that needed to work on his blocking.

But during his first extensive action as a pro, the Pittsburgh Steelers did not shy away from showcasing his blocking skills.

Gentry played significant snaps in the Steelers’ 27-3 win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night. He was not targeted with a throw — but he did provide some quality blocks, including during a Jaylen Samuels touchdown run during the third quarter.

“Obviously, I am still a work in progress as far as that goes,” Gentry said of blocking. “But I feel like over the last two weeks I have taken some big steps and gotten better overall. I feel like I made some pretty good blocks (Monday). I feel there are some things I’ll see to work on on the tape, but I feel pretty good.”

Although in reality they had scant options because of the injuries to Vance McDonald and Xavier Grimble heading into a week when the newly-acquired Nick Vannett would serve as the No. 1 tight end, the Steelers did not shy away from using Gentry as a blocker.

For example, in their wildcat package, it was Gentry — and not Vannett — who was on the field. This is in part a function of the Steelers’ preference to keep things vanilla for Vannett during his first week of practice, but it also was a tacit acknowledgment that Gentry could handle the job as a blocker.

A fifth-round pick who was inactive for the first two games of the season, Gentry played 10 snaps in his NFL debut Week 3 at San Francisco.

“I felt comfortable,” Gentry said of the Bengals game. “I thought I played pretty well, and in for a lot of blocking. And I think I did that well; we will see on the tape (Tuesday).”

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Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Steelers
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