Steelers rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton provided some electricity to an otherwise dark-aged offense this preseason. He also dropped a few passes and missed a few assignments.
The latter reasons are likely why he was on the lower end of a 47-5 snap count split with veteran WR Jerricho Cotchery. The veteran had a drop, was the victim of a seemingly unwise end-around playcall and only hauled in three of the nine passes he was given from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
In fact, Roethlisberger only completed half his throws (14-of-28) to his top three targets - Cotchery, Emmanuel Sanders (5-for-10) and Antonio Brown (6-for-9).
Wheaton failed to log a catch or a target for the second consecutive game. Fellow rookie Derek Moye got his first catch and touchdown - the Steelers' second touchdown of the season - against Cincinnati, but Wheaton's contributions still appear to only be special teams-related. He had two kick returns in Week 1, but didn't have any against the Bengals.
This is the natural progression for any rookie receiver. However, it does sting a bit, seeing the plays Houston rookie WR DeAndre Hopkins is making. Granted, Hopkins is a bona fide first round pick and Wheaton was taken in the third - for more reasons than just an alleged less-than-expected 40-yard dash time.
Wheaton is still a work-in-progress, but even considering that, it's a bit odd to see nine targets going Cotchery's way, particularly after a clear miscommunication between him and Roethlisberger on one of several incompletions on the night.
Whether Wheaton gets on the field against Chicago in Week 3 remains to be seen, but it's more indicative of a Steelers' receiving group that isn't on the same page with its quarterback, and production is not consistent.
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