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  1. #1
    Starter SnakeEyes43's Avatar
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    Brown returning punts

    I've been on the fence about this since about week 3 or 4. I'm really afraid of Brown getting hurt on one of these returns, as he is pretty small physically. Brown is having an amazing year and is clearly a top-tier receiver. But he's also an explosive return man, as we've seen plenty of times.

    How do you guys feel about him continuing to return punts? Is it worth the risk to you? I'm not worried about this year, as it's almost over, but if he has a serious knee injury early next year, that'd be an immeasurable blow. What do you think?

    Here's a nice article on Brown, with Tomlin addressing the returning kicks/punts issue.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/pittsburgh-s...el-browns-rise

    PITTSBURGH -- Antonio Brown is well on his way to his second Pro Bowl and quite possibly his second Steelers' MVP award since 2011.

    Brown is third in the NFL in both catches (95) and receiving yards (1,307). He has also been one of the league's top punter returners, averaging 12.9 yards per return.

    Brown, who wasn't even the first of the two sixth-round draft picks the Steelers made in 2010, has risen from No. 4 to No. 1 receiver. Coach Mike Tomlin said his success stems from a unique blend of the fourth-year veteran believing in himself while also staying grounded and focused.

    "I think in his mind he's always been a No. 1 [receiver] even when he was a No. 4," Tomlin said. "I think that's why he's successful. He's got ridiculous work ethic. I think everyone respects that and it's very evident. He's in great shape over the course of a 12-month calendar [year] and he's always working his body and working his craft.

    "He's very comparable to James Harrison in that mentality. He has that type of singular focus in terms of his growth and development as a football player. I think that's why he's endeared himself to his teammates. I think that's why he's productive as he is."

    Brown is indeed as maniacal about Harrison as far as training, and it is not uncommon for him to put in a full work day at Steelers headquarters and then go to the gym at night for a workout.

    As well-conditioned as Brown is, Tomlin has no plans to expand his responsibilities to include kickoff returns.

    Tomlin made that clear to a reporter who asked him several times why the Steelers use Felix Jones on kickoff returns instead of a faster player like Brown, Emmanuel Sanders or Markus Wheaton.

    In regard to Brown, Tomlin said, "Name another No. 1 [wide receiver] with similar stats to Antonio Brown that even returns punts for that matter let alone punts and kicks. We appreciate his versatility and his willingness to be an asset to us in special teams as well as on offense.
    "
    Last edited by SnakeEyes43; 12-18-2013 at 09:58 AM.
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    Veteran TarlsQtr's Avatar
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    People should read this the next time they complain about Brown smiling after a loss. The guy obviously cares but it is a different generation.

    As far as your point, I believe he is now too valuable to be the full-time punt returner. He should be used in critical situations (e.g. late in important games when we need a return) but not throughout. A special teams injury to him would be devastating.
    "If I could start my life all over again, I would be a professional football player, and you damn well better believe I would be a Pittsburgh Steeler." -Jack Lambert

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    Head Coach LatrobePA's Avatar
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    Wes Welker made a living at returning punts and never really got broke.
    "Happy Happy Happy"

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    Starter SnakeEyes43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LatrobePA View Post
    Wes Welker made a living at returning punts and never really got broke.
    True, that's the case with the majority of return men. Most go without getting seriously injured.

    Is it worth the risk to this team though? Not in my opinion. If Brown goes down, say early next season, that would an immeasurable loss.

    Though I do cringe when I see Jones back there, with the ball sailing towards him...
    With Manny likely gone next year, does Wheaton start doing returns?
    Last edited by SnakeEyes43; 12-18-2013 at 10:17 AM.
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    Head Coach LatrobePA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnakeEyes43 View Post
    True, that's the case with the majority of return men. Most go without getting seriously injured.

    Is it worth the risk to this team though? Not in my opinion. If Brown goes down, say early next season, that would an immeasurable loss.

    Edit-Though I do cringe when I see Jones back there, with the ball sailing towards him...
    With Manny likely gone next year, does Wheaton start doing returns?
    At this point no, but he does give us a great chance for a return...
    "Happy Happy Happy"

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    Veteran steelchamp204's Avatar
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    I cringe everytime I see him tackled when he returns a punt. I also hate Jones/Dwyer returning kickoffs. Slow as hell

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    K Train's Avatar
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    Punts are fine, kickoffs are not

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    Veteran steelchamp204's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K Train View Post
    Punts are fine, kickoffs are not
    This team needs to draft a player for Kickoff returns. It blows my mind that we at least dont try and put Sanders back to kickoff returns. Instead, we have Dwyers and Jones.

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    The second we're mathematically eliminated this year needs to be the exact moment that he returns his last kickoff or punt this season.
    Quote Originally Posted by questforSB7 View Post
    And I have EVERY Steelers game on tape going back 20 years BEFORE Terry Bradshaw even picked up a football.

  10. #10
    K Train's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steelchamp204 View Post
    This team needs to draft a player for Kickoff returns. It blows my mind that we at least dont try and put Sanders back to kickoff returns. Instead, we have Dwyers and Jones.
    I dont mind dwyer and jones. Jones has the speed, but dwyer isnt that bad. Not going to break many TD runs but he can provide decent field position and is used to carrying the ball.

    They tried with rainey, didnt work out.

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