The Pittsburgh Steelers were victorious in their Week 5 game against the New York Jets, but there is something missing with this potent offense. Antonio Brown is doing Antonio Brown things, Le'Veon Bell looks every bit as dynamic as he did in 2014, Sammie Coates might just be a budding superstar in the NFL, Jesse James is turning into a very reliable technician at tight end, but what about Markus Wheaton?
Wheaton, who missed the first two games of the 2016 regular season with a shoulder injury, doesn't look the same, and his stats back up such a sentiment.
Thru 3 games, he has 4 receptions on 9 targets for just 51 yards, and one touchdown. For the player who was slotted to be the team's No. 2 wide receiver this year, these are very modest numbers. Some might suggest Wheaton has been surpassed by Coates on the depth chart, and isn't seeing the field as much, but the snap totals don't agree.
In the Week 5 game, Wheaton saw the field more than Coates with 49 snaps to Coates' 44. In fact, after Antonio Brown, Wheaton saw the field the most out of the wide receivers on the team's roster. So, Wheaton's lack of production isn't due to him being benched, or not getting the opportunity, but he simply isn't getting the job done one way or another.
This issue can be two-fold. Ben Roethlisberger is the man delivering the ball, and he very well could be looking in other directions as Wheaton finds himself open. It happens on every play. However, this also could be a defensive philosophy by the opposition. You bracket Antonio Brown, and Wheaton could be the next player on their list to stop. Put all your attention on WR1 and WR2, and it leaves Coates with a very winnable matchup.
If this is the case, Coates will likely see more attention moving forward, and could open up Wheaton for increased targets. In 3 games, Wheaton hasn't tallied the targets has in just the Jets game (11). Although the Pittsburgh offense is far from struggling, having Wheaton at full strength, and full health, certainly could add yet another dynamic to their offense moving forward.
To see the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers snap totals, the graph is below, courtesy of Pro-Football Reference.