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Scorp
12-10-2010, 01:13 PM
Nobody said it quite this way: The best things in life are threes, especially if you play wide receiver for the Steelers.

With rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown seeing the field on offense more often and joining second-year man Mike Wallace, the Steelers have three of their most dynamic young receivers since that titanic trio from the '98-00 era: Hines Ward, Troy Edwards and Plaxico Burress.

To boot: Sanders, Wallace and Ward were all third-round picks. The Steelers packed off Santonio Holmes, their only remaining first-round pick at wide receiver, to the Jets this year. And Brown is twice times three -- a sixth-round pick.

"When we lost Santonio, we needed some depth at wide receiver," Ward said. "Emmanuel and Antonio have great talent, it's just a matter of trying to slowly ease them into the game until they get that comfort level."

Sanders and Brown each lined up together seven times when the Steelers used four wide receivers Sunday night in Baltimore. Brown caught three passes in that formation, one more than he had total in the previous four games he had played this season. Sanders also caught three passes, his second most in his nine games, and his 49 yards were the most he has had in a game.

The production by the two rookies who competed against each other for much of the season to be active on game day has inspired their coaches to keep it up.

"Each week you try to get them to grow a little bit more, and they've done a good job with their opportunities so far. So it won't be any less," coordinator Bruce Arians said.

The nurturing of Sanders, Brown and, to an extent, Wallace gives the Steelers something at the position they lost when Holmes left; they have great speed in Wallace and good speed and quickness in the other two. Sanders passed veteran Antwaan Randle El several games back as the No. 3 receiver. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the coaches have gained more confidence in Sanders and Brown.

"We just have to keep on those guys and keep them plugging along because they can be really good and helpful in certain areas," Roethlisberger said.

Said Sanders, "Me and Antonio, we're starting to see Ben trust in us a little bit. We're starting to understand the playbook and we're more comfortable out there and it's all starting to come together.

"I feel like we stretch a defense. We all can go deep, we all can come out of our breaks at any time and that kind of puts stress on the defense."

Ward noted that as defenses keyed more on Wallace and on him, it opened things up for Sanders. Wallace has 41 catches for 868 yards and eight touchdowns. He leads the NFL with an average of 21.2 yards per catch. Ward has 41 receptions for 523 yards. Sanders has 16 for 228, and Brown now has five for 53.

"The more and more they continue to make plays," Ward said, "the more and more I think it will balance our whole wide receiver corps out there, especially on third down."

"They call us the Young Money Crew," Sanders said. "We're just trying to come together, make plays and lead this team to the Super Bowl."

Wallace calls Brown "Cash Money" and Sanders "Young Money," although he's thinking of changing the latter to "Easy Money."

"Those guys have so much talent. I love them," Wallace said. "I get excited because they can make plays at any time."

With Wallace attracting more attention on his deep routes, the Steelers have been trying to get the ball quickly to Brown and Sanders so they can use their quickness for yards after the catch, but Sanders caught an important deeper one of 28 yards in Baltimore that set up a field goal.

"Quickness and speed," Arians said, naming their main attributes. "They're very good with the ball in their hands as return people, so you're looking for run after the catch from both of them, and they can also take the top end off the coverage so they're going to be a dynamic pair in the future.

"They have their kiddie gloves on still, but they're growing. I like where they're at right now."

Ward said there's still life in him, but he likes what the future holds at his position once he does retire.

"My career is not over this year; I still have some football left. But I think we're in good hands."

igor0190
12-10-2010, 01:38 PM
Good to hear that! :tt02:

LatrobePA
12-10-2010, 02:21 PM
Good problem to have...Now if Ben only had time to throw the ball!!

chisteeler
12-10-2010, 03:10 PM
Please draft quality OL and the rest takes care of itself!

coldrolled
12-10-2010, 03:38 PM
Please draft quality OL and the rest takes care of itself!

Please spend on a quality OC and the rest takes care of itself too!!

Troyisabeast_43
12-10-2010, 05:02 PM
It definitely appears that finally judging by last week in Baltimore that Antonio Brown has overtaken Randle El on the depth chart and him and Sanders both will be used in wideout packages more then Randle El will be from now on. All I gotta say about this is it's about damn time this was longgggggg overdue...

jnes1216
12-10-2010, 05:08 PM
Please draft quality OL and the rest takes care of itself!

:plus1: The first three picks should be lineman imo. OL and DL in any order but two should be OL.

LatrobePA
12-10-2010, 06:26 PM
Please spend on a quality OC and the rest takes care of itself too!!

That would help too!

BlitzburghRockCity
12-10-2010, 07:04 PM
I think many of us were worried about the depth of our WR corp when Holmes got traded. Nobody knew for sure how Wallace would respond in his second year, and both Sanders & Brown were complete unknowns. I think it's safe to say that, so far so good. Wallace is a stud down field and both Brown & Sanders are making strides every week. I love the future of our group of targets for Ben.

You don't see many rookie WR's that don't mind going across the middle and taking the big hit after catching the ball. Sanders & Brown have both demonstrated that ability and desire on many occasions this year. It certainly doesn't hurt that both of them can return kicks as well.

Lest we forget to the great Hines Ward is still out there every Sunday making his presence felt whether he is catching passes or not. It is indeed a good problem to have trying to find passes for all these guys.

coach
12-10-2010, 07:36 PM
Good problem to have...Now if Ben only had time to throw the ball!!

With Wallace attracting more attention on his deep routes, the Steelers have been trying to get the ball quickly to Brown and Sanders so they can use their quickness for yards after the catch, but Sanders caught an important deeper one of 28 yards in Baltimore that set up a field goal.

Yup, If he had more time or if the OC would call more quick throws. I think if we could address these two things, we could actually be a scary team on O. Right now our O only scares Steelers fans.

Rampage
12-11-2010, 01:13 PM
This team should be set with receivers for a while. The thing that I've noticed the most with these guys is their collective ability to catch the ball. There have been some drops, but that is to be expected for young guys. They are coming up with big plays and really doing well with the opportunities they are given.

Black@Gold Forever32
12-11-2010, 04:32 PM
I was one of the few at the start of even pre-season that wanted Sanders and Brown see significant playing soon rather then later.......I knew El really brought nothing to the table at this stage of his career.......Yea he was ok to serve as a mentor for the young WR's but he could have served that role as the 5th/6th WR on the team and didn't have to dress on game days.......

The Steelers offense needed speed bad and both of these young WR's provide that.......Especially with Ward also slowing down......I now Ward has that occasional game were he has 7 catches and goes over 100 yards still but that is usually against teams that play mostly zone which Ward being the crafty vet he is can manipulate......When teams man up on Ward he is done.......He has had many games with just a few catches and not many yards....Which is understandable due to his age.......Play the young guys even over Ward.......We need actual threats and both Sanders/Brown can threaten a defense with their speed......

If Ward comes back next year he must be forced to play the El role of this year.....I love Hines Ward and he has been a warrior all these years.....But I want the team win games and don't hold sentimental value when it comes to players........

pimplydan
12-12-2010, 09:37 AM
COACH I hear ya!Good point about the 3 receiver situation,I think you hit the nail in the head.Look at Brady in New England he has all that short stuff to Branch and Wes it drives me nuts when he does that stuff against us but it works.We can run,we got Wallace downtown Moore checkdown so work on the short stuff to Sanders n Brown.

--- Added 12/12/2010 at 08:37 AM ---

you're right