Let’s just make it three-for-three. I suppose this is what you are left to resolve when you go 8-8, but my thoughts there are for another post entirely. As with the Offensive Line and Running Back groups, by position, the Receiving corps has much to improve, and prove, for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2013.
PICK A POSITION: RECEIVERS
We are not going to discuss, even though we cannot dismiss, the loss of Mike Wallace. He’s not here anymore, and the Steelers Front Office has smartly been preparing for that eventuality since first working out “big money” to “Other Money’s” bank account instead. Antonio Brown is clearly a Management favorite, but in total the “Young Money” crew has been more “Big Drama” for the ‘Burgh than it was productive last season.
In 2013, the passing game as a primary team strength needs to become reality. No group will be counted on more heavily to produce this season than our Receivers, so where does Pittsburgh stand in this position heading into the upcoming NFL DRAFT?
Wideouts Get Wide Open
Repeating myself from prior, believe it or not I am also optimistic about our receiving corps this season. Disappointed to see Coach Montgomery return to his alma mater at Duke as their new Offensive Coordinator, but in new Steeler Receivers Coach Richard Mann what we are supposed to be getting is an affirmed commitment to being extremely solid in route-running and receiving fundamentals. Speed kills, and it will certainly be missed, but more than anything else what we need from this group is hands. Out of Hailey’s Playbook these guys need to run excellent routes, gain position and catch every ball thrown to them, always making a play on all-important 3rd down conversions.
- (WR) Antonio Brown: let’s not try and negatively pick apart anything right now on Mr. Brown; he has a great, infectious leadership attitude and gives outstanding effort on the field and is becoming a vocal leader off of it. I could though, Antonio, use a little less sauce on the celebrations after every 1st down reception; torch the D deep and/or haul in a grab for 6? Then lose ya mind. An incredible find out of Central Michigan in 2010, 6th Round, Brown deservedly takes up the mantle as Pittsburgh’s #1 Receiver. Brown does it all, as we all know – and we all know his attitude is one of putting a bad fumble or a missed catch as motivation to not only improve, but be the best. 2013 is going to be the best year of Antonio Brown’s young, yet vastly ascending career. He’s the #1 Receiver in Pittsburgh now, and he plays up to it.
- (WR) Emmanuel Sanders: back from the brink of being inaccurately reported as a New England Patriot, wanna bet Emmanuel looks really good this year? Because he’s gonna. Initially ahead of Brown on the WR depth chart, if Sanders can finally shake the Steelers injury bug-a-boo he stands to see a lot of bullets from Big Ben. Further, the coupling of Sanders-Brown is a big attitude adjustment from one that had half of it “taking off plays when I’m not getting the ball”. Wow… anyway… we lose the ‘tude and gain determination and effort, to go with talent that is only now legitimately coming to full fruition. Sanders gets a big opportunity, and he makes big of it in return.
- (WR) Jerircho Cotchery: the former NC State Wolfpack standout is a really good fit in our current scheme; Hailey needs to get JC on the field more, however. He has the solid route-running and hands that will move our 3rd down markers, and can be a Hines-type leader as a seasoned veteran.
- (WR) Plaxico Burress: Plax is not going to put up big numbers, but I think Burress does fill the stat sheet with catches that have considerable weight: securing Red Zone completions for Touchdowns, primarily.
- (TE) Heath Miller: big sigh (exhale)… having a horrific injury to one of the best Tight Ends in the game is a major blow to our Offense in my opinion. We don’t have an exact time-table for Superman’s return according to Colbert, but if I end up wrong in my fear his injuries are worse than we think, let’s put it optimistically at mid-October. That’s a long time without a major weapon in Hailey’s offense and valuable field leadership, but it is what it is.
- (TE) Matt Spaeth: should be our Starting TE until Superman gets healthy. He’s gonna have to play really solid for us early. Really solid.
- (TE) David Johnson: until Heath gets back, DJ has minutes to play. We have other rosters holders that I mean no disrespect, but we’ve only got a day left until Draft Day and we haven’t started talking about our league-leading Defense yet.