Aug 24, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Markus Wheaton (11) scores a touchdown past Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Neiko Thorpe (38) in the second half at Heinz Field. The Chiefs won the game in overtime, 26-20. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Will Markus Wheaton Be Used More Next Week?


When Mike “Sound Byte” Tomlin gave his post-game interview, he gave his usual blow-hard responses littered with the same types of “accepting the position we’re in” and “we have work to do” nonsense we have become accustomed to over the last six years.  While I usually tune out what Tomlin has to say, I was nevertheless intrigued when he said that rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton would be “part of an answer” to some of the team’s current problems.


I only had one response to the head coach’s statement on the matter: “It’s about <bleeping> time, Mike.”


Although I said “Mike” when I first read his response, my frustration was more directed at offensive coordinator Todd Haley who has made the former Oregon State Beaver a “ghost” during regular season play.  After Wheaton made some electric plays during the preseason and drew the praise of many veterans on Pittsburgh’s roster, the rookie has been relegated to essentially special teams duty throughout the first two weeks of the regular season.

Instead of putting the speedy pass-catcher on the field to give even a hint of a vertical threat to the offensive game plan, Haley has elected to use guys like Will Johnson, David Johnson, and David Paulson on passing downs during the first two games instead.  Neither of those players are threats to catch passes more than 15 yards down the field, and none of them possess the type of speed Wheaton can bring to an offense.

Both Wheaton and Derek Moye have the speed to put pressure on opposing defenses, and the fact that both have sat in favor of Pittsburgh’s fullback and backup tight ends has been nothing short of a confusing disgrace on Haley’s part.

I for one hope Wheaton (and Moye) can become more involved in the Steelers’ offensive game-plan during the coming weeks, especially since this team is desperate for play-makers, sustained drives, and points at the moment.  How much this team will turn to Wheaton this fall is still a mystery, but I only have one question for Pittsburgh’s coaching staff:


“What do you have to lose by inserting him into packages with four and five wide receivers?”





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Tags: David Johnson David Paulson Derek Moye Markus Wheaton Mike Tomlin Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Todd Williams

    Seriously! Brown and Sanders couldn’t outrun the Bengals’ corners on deeper balls, so why not give the players with height a shot at stretching the field? Not that it happened last night, but I’m always like, “HUH?” when they try to throw a fade to David Johnson. At least they got Derek Moye involved once.

    Why the constant quick-screens and slants last night, especially after seeing that the Bengals were ALL OVER them? Why not a single out pattern? (unless I missed it)

  • Milliken Steeler

    I agree with you on this one Dom. Im not impressed with Sanders and no one is getting seperation. Cotch is getting open just as much as our #1 and #2 because of his route running.

    Wheaton is our legitimate deep threat. I would have him in there excessively and see what happens.
    When you run routes like he does (better than Mike does) and you have that speed in and out of your breaks he will get open.

    I sure hope we don’t wait four or five games before we realize our WR’s aren’t getting open enough and to try something different.

    • Dom DiTolla

      Thanks, it’s one of the biggest reasons why I advocated for the Steelers to not match New England’s tender. They could have used that extra 3rd round pick on an extra linebacker, cornerback, or a running back not named “Glass” Bell.

      The fact that Wheaton, and even Moye, have had to ride the pine pony at the expense of putting Paulson, “The Johnsons,” and Beachum in the game makes me sick. If they sat due to a healthy Heath, I could understand and support the choice. But both of them sitting on the sidelines has left me scratching my head.

  • SamyyCiao

    Why noit use him more – start him actually – have not to lose – Sanders is just average – he is gone after the season – to bad the cap would not allow us to keep both Wallace and Brown but now the decision to keep Brown over Wallace while at the time looked good becasue Wallace was shoving it in the Steelers face was the wrong decision!