No ceiling: Rookie Diontae Johnson continues to emerge as a threat for the Steelers offense, and a solid No. 2 receiver alongside JuJu Smith-Schuster. Johnson has 25 catches for 296 yards and three touchdowns through eight games and continues to grow each week, with more expected of him moving forward.
"You never want to put a on ceiling on where they would be," said offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner. "We have high expectations for him, and they continue to grow each week. Remember back in training camp and minicamp, he was injured, and he had that hamstring. So, he really didn't get a chance to do a lot. So, it really set him back.
"I like his progress right now, but the challenge would be to continue to grow each week. I think we're finding out some things that he can do really well and some things we need area of improvement in, and he understands that. So, it's a nice problem to have early."
Doing his job: It's not just Fichtner who likes what he sees from Johnson. Fellow receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is also impressed and drew comparisons between him and Johnson in their rookie seasons.
"Not talking a lot, putting your head down and working," said Smith-Schuster. "Adapting to the team. Being a team guy. That is what he has done a lot, which is pretty cool. Not saying much and just do your job. He is a lot smaller than me, quicker and faster. But all those go into play.
"I basically went through the same thing, so I understand what he went through. It is really cool to see how far he has come. Big player on our team, making big plays. He is just doing his job."
The Steelers prepare for the Week 9 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts
Samuels is 'nifty': Running back James Conner didn't practice on Thursday, missing for the second-straight day with a shoulder injury. If Conner can't go on Sunday against the Colts, then it will be Jaylen Samuels who will get the start as he returns from having a scope on his knee.
"He's really unique as a pass catcher, a route runner," said Fichtner. "He's nifty in a lot of ways. We know he can be capable of being that one back that can play all three downs. He's done it before in big games. I think back to New England last year. I mean, he's had plenty of those moments. So, I'm just excited to have him back."