The Silent Rise Of Markus Wheaton

Ever since the 2nd half started in the Cleveland Browns game the Pittsburgh Steelers have played football in a manner that defies all Steeler fan comprehension and as we hesitantly ready ourselves to engage a true NFL elite team I struggle to find a shred of hope for the rest of the season. The good news is we don't have to look very far to find a Steeler that has worked hard, overcome adversity, and doesn't seem to accept a non-Steeler like approach to the game....that young man is Markus Wheaton.

I lost count of all the so called "experts" that continually preached how our WR corps faced possible armageddon with the departures of Sander's and Cotchery and began to become irritated when these same Steeler experts focused on the amount of NFL experience our receivers had after # 84. Yes, (football in shorts star) J. Brown has already done a good Sander's imitation by fumbling at a critical time, and yes our offense is crying out for a player to replace Cotchery's last season's redzone production of 10 touchdowns but if you look closely at Wheaton's play you can can see the potential is there.

After 2 games Wheaton is tied for 2nd on the team in receptions and and has caught everything thrown his way, more importantly the second year player out of Oregon has performed in clutch situations. It's amazing to visibly see how Ben has already begun to have total confidence in Wheaton's ability to move the chains and despite our QB only having time to set and throw when he's running for his life, Ben has found Wheaton there for him.

Is this some sort of shocking revelation to Steeler fans? Wasn't this the guy we drafted in the 3rd round that was scouted as having near Mike Wallace speed except with route running skills? During the draft when every armchair quarterback (including our real quarterback) was screaming for the Steeler's to take one of the 6-5 athletic WR freaks in the 1st or 2nd round, the Steeler's never gave in to the pressure. It could be argued that our current pathetic performance in the redzone proves that our team made a mistake by not drafting a huge end zone threat but I reject that claim. Hines Ward defined redzone production for nearly his whole career, Hines Ward was barely 6 feet.

After a horrible injury filled rookie season and despite our team was scrambling to sign players like Lance Moore and deflecting criticism on our WR situation, the only person that seemed to remember Markus Wheaton was Markus Wheaton. Quietly and efficiently Wheaton relentlessly worked on his skills during all the hoopla surrounding other players from voluntary workouts to the end of training camp, his dedication is finally being noticed by the Steeler nation. However his current play is not the reason I'm writing this article and I want to make this very clear.

Markus Wheaton is going to become a great player and a possible Hines Ward touchdown replacement option because of the one thing that defines what the Steeler's were and could be again.... his professionalism. Nowhere is this dying team character more evident as when you see our defense and offensive line run around like they have no idea where their supposed to be. Wheaton has been a blessing because when you watch the tape you see 2 things: A. He KNOWS where he's supposed to be and B. He NEVER takes a play off.

Maybe the team was right concerning our failure to not draft an unknown commodity to become a redzone threat, maybe there's a player named Markus Wheaton who can become everything our team needs....and possibly more.

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