The Steelers need a legitimate No. 2 receiver opposite JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Moncrief didn’t deliver during Sunday’s 33-3 loss at New England with multiple drops and three catches for 7 yards despite a team-high 10 targets.
“[Ben Roethlisberger‘s] depending on me and I’ve got to make plays for him, hurt finger or not,” Moncrief said. “There’s nothing you can do to a dislocated finger, especially when you’re a receiver. You’ve just got to tough out the pain and go.”
Moncrief looked good at the start of training camp but missed time with the finger injury. He has been practicing in full for the last few weeks.
The Steelers signed Moncrief to a two-year, $9 million deal in the offseason. Moncrief played four seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and one with Jacksonville, where he caught 48 passes for 668 yards and three touchdowns.
Coaches and teammates lauded Moncrief’s playmaking and professionalism during camp, but this week Moncrief called the game review of the Patriots loss “sickening” because of all the missed plays. In the first half, Moncrief couldn’t hold on to a crucial fourth-and-1 pass, which the Patriots contested well.
Moncrief admits he wanted to excel in his Steelers debut and might have pressed as a result, but he knows the solution is simple — make plays.
“I know what I can do. That was probably my worst game ever,” Moncrief said. “At the end of the day, you can’t sit there and pout about it.”