STEELERS 2006 PREVIEW - WIDE RECEIVER
By: PITT23 of SteelerAddicts.com
The wide receiver spot is arguably one of the deepest spots that the Steelers have. The loss of Antwaan Randle El is certainly a notable loss but it was a loss as much throwing the ball as it was actually catching it. he only had one TD catch and not a ton fo receptions. Even if Randle El caught seven to ten touchdowns I still wouldn't be worried because I think we can get it done with the guys we have now.
Returning Super Bowl MVP, team leader, and best blocking wide receiver Hines Ward anchors the wideout corps although with a few questions surrounding him. It is looking less and less likely he'll play in the preseason and he may not even be ready for the opener. His hamstring might pose a lingering problem during the entire season but he feels confident about how things will go. He's willing to go across the middle and take a hit but he also has the hands to make terrific sideline catches and we don't get our money's worth only on pass plays. He's willing to hit and get hit on rushes to the outside and that is going to be important with Willie Parker breaking rushes to the outside. He is always open to running reverses and possibly passing the ball too.
From what I've seen during this year's camp and preseason, the number two receiver will be Cedric Wilson with Nate Washington coming in as the number three wideout. Both are doing quite well this year and have shown in the past what they are capable of doing. Neither of them are exceptionally big (5' 10" and 6' 1" respectively) and neither will ever win any MVP awards but they are as good if not the best number two and three receivers in the AFC.
Other guys include draft picks Santonio Holmes and Willie Reid. Holmes will likely get more receptions than Reid but both will likely play a large role returning kicks and punts. Lee Mays and Quincy Morgan will get a smaller amount of playing time but their importance to the team might come on the trade block.
Another player who will play a big part down inside the 20 yard line is Heath Miller, the second year tight end who has shown can catch passes as well as some receivers. He is a big target that caught a ton of passes in college. Some people believe Cowher will never use him in the right way though but 6 touchdowns for a rookie tightend isn't bad so we'll see if that number becomes greater year by year.
This is part three in a several part series featuring an outlook on each of the Steelers' positional groups. A new one will be posted every few days leading up to the season opener. Feel free to repost this anywhere with the proper credit and website address. Comments are welcome and appreciated.