Steelers wideout Eli Rogers a mystery after DNP vs. Patriots

PITTSBURGH -- After the momentum that followed slot receiver Eli Rogers out of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp, his 13 catches through seven games can be considered a letdown.

Rogers missed two games with turf toe, but his healthy scratch for Sunday's loss to the Patriots was even more curious. Rogers told iHeartRadio's Mike Prisuta that his benching was a "coach's decision," not injury-related.

Something happened with Rogers, and it wasn't a game-plan issue. The sense I've gotten is the Steelers very much wanted to use Rogers in the middle of the field against the Patriots defensive backs.

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said on his weekly appearance with 93.7 The Fan that Rogers needs to "stay focused," which hints at a preparation or team-related issue.

"That's what's so upsetting about him not being on the field -- we want him to be out there because I see what he can bring to this offense," Roethlisberger said. "We just need him to be out there."

The Steelers had hoped Rogers' nuanced route-running and instincts from the slot would add a new dimension to the offense. On paper, the plan would be something like: Sammie Coates as the deep guy, Rogers working the middle, Ladarius Green up the seam, and Antonio Brown finally having more room to operate and get that safety detached from his hip.

The Steelers still like that plan, but it has yet to take flight.

Luckily for Rogers, he still has time to win back his job. But he's costing himself yards and points.