Steelers have reasons to like WR depth without Burress in loss to Giants

Justin K. Aller

The Steelers left a lot of room for improvement, but there were a few bright spots; especially for a positional group recently overshadowed by the injury to Plaxico Burress.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have reasons to worry about the depth of their offensive line.  At least they can worry about their receivers a little less after their performances in the 18-13 loss to the New York Giants in the first week of the preseason.

Markus Wheaton proved he was a rookie with a procedure penalty, but he also showed why the Steelers drafted him in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL draft.  He had one reception for eight yards, but he also took an end-around for ten more.  As he gets more comfortable with the playbook, he'll become a dangerous slot threat.

Fellow 2013 draft pick Justin Brown from the sixth round led all receivers with four receptions and 32 yards.  Former teammate of Brown from Penn State Derek Moye caught two for 22 yards, and undrafted rookie J.D. Woods grabbed two quality catches in the final drive of the game for Pittsburgh.  Reggie Dunn chipped in with both kick and punt returns and even made a sliding catch.

Starters Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders looked ready, but did not play beyond the first quarter.  Brown was a toe away from a TD.  Sanders caught three passes for 27 yards, and looks like a primary focus of the offense in its preseason mode.

Another good sign for the passing game were the two passes pulled in by fullback Will Johnson, converting for first downs on each.  Johnson's inclusion as a target will only benefit the Steelers who are dealing with a deep contusion to the tight end.

Not every play was perfect, and each guy has room to grow; but the offense will not suffer because Plaxico Burress was lost for the season in training camp.

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