Ladarius Green is finally making big plays, but he's not satisfied

PITTSBURGH -- From roster liability to late-season catalyst, tight end Ladarius Green has experienced just about everything in his first nine months with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

So excuse Green -- the team's $20-million free-agent signing -- if the adulation of his first career 100-yard game doesn't captivate him.

Instead of gleefully explaining his 110 yards and a touchdown after the Steelers' 24-14 win over the New York Giants, Green lamented two pass drops (though only one obvious drop) and a few other missed plays, including a near-touchdown late in the game.

"I’m not close to where I thought I would be, but I’m getting closer," said Green, who missed the first nine games of the season with an ankle injury but now has 207 yards on 11 catches through four games. "I’m building a little more confidence every game. The team is still believing in me. They keep pushing me. So it’s just ... everything is getting better."

Green patiently fought through a surgically repaired ankle that prevented him from validating his contract, which he wanted to do so badly that it started to hinder his rehab. This is the new Green, who probably hasn't yet matched his quickness from his days with San Diego, but he is getting close.

Green is also finding a knack for getting past defenders, including a sly screen fake on safety Landon Collins that left Green wide open up the middle for a 20-yard touchdown. If he does get his full speed back, he'll form a deadly combination with Ben Roethlisberger, who said Green "wants to be great." Roethlisberger went right back to Green after he dropped a pass early in the game.

Steelers coaches and teammates have highlighted Green's attention to detail in meeting rooms and practice fields, which is clearly translating to success.

In his last two games, Green is averaging a league-leading 22.1 yards per catch, which Roethlisberger says helps draw the safety help off Antonio Brown.

The way Green sees it, that's the least he can do after the Steelers stayed patient with him.

"My teammates believe in me, kept motivating me, so I owe them a lot," Green said.