Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

In Search of . . . Antonio Brown Desperately Needs a Running Mate on the Outside

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

In Search of . . . Antonio Brown Desperately Needs a Running Mate on the Outside

Article excerpt

Do the Steelers have a multi-talented offense that is ready to break out at any minute and carry them over the second half of the season? Or did many people simply overrate the talent, and what they have shown is what they will get for the rest of 2014?

They have a dynamic quarterback, halfback and wide receiver who are among the best in the game and a line that has gathered positive ratings through the first seven games.

However, what they do not have at the moment is a consistently capable wide receiver after Antonio Brown, and that could very well be their biggest problem.

Markus Wheaton, who started the season with six receptions for 97 yards in the opener and has remained the starter with Brown, has three receptions in the past three games. He had none Monday when his playing time was reduced and given to Martavis Bryant and Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Justin Brown, who opened the season as the slot receiver, has given way to veteran Lance Moore. Brown did not dress Monday. Offensive coordinator Todd Haley said they would like to see someone after Brown rise up and take hold of the position.

"We have a bunch of different guys who are all quality players, for the most part younger players who are developing and trying to just do the things they do best," Haley said.

"As a result of that, you'd love to see somebody jump up and just say hey, we can't have this guy off the field. That's usually the way it works. Right now, we're kind of in that process. We just need guys to make plays."

The Steelers made little effort to re-sign Emmanuel Sanders or Jerricho Cotchery, who were their No. 2 and 3 wide receivers last season but left as free agents. They have done little to provide Ben Roethlisberger with strong receiving help other than to hit it big with a sixth-round pick in Brown in 2010 and throw a lot of third- round draft picks at the position.

They hit on some of those, but then Sanders and Mike Wallace left and now Wheaton has not developed as quickly as they hoped in his second season and seems to have lost confidence.

"He's a young guy that's developing," Haley said. "There's going to be ups and downs. It's not going to be roses all the time for guys. It's a tough sport, a tough game."

Maybe Bryant, a fourth-round pick, can fill that need. His first NFL catch was a 35-yard touchdown Monday and his reaction to forgetting to keep the ball for his trophy case at least displayed his confidence.

"I'm not really worrying about it," he said. "There will be plenty more to come."

Good seats available at Heinz

At StubHub early this past week, there were nearly 2,000 tickets available for today's game at Heinz Field, ranging from $90 with no hidden or delivery fees on top of that.

At the Steelers ticket exchange, there were 23 pages of tickets for sale, a total of 1,133 listings, nearly all offering multiple tickets, usually two -- but sometimes four -- per listing. …

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