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Antonio Brown is the Steelers craftsman

Running routes is a very precise art, ones rarely, if ever, mastered by young players. This Steelers wide receiver makes his highlight reel by his moves in the open field, but he moves the chains through his ability to run routes.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

You want a player dedicated to his craft? Look no further than Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. Brown is maybe 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds. He's definitely extremely quick and, as has been often written here, no one in the NFL is faster in and out of his breaks than the Steelers' No. 84.

The fusion that took place between his game and the direction of the offense started last season. Amid a six-catch, 57- yard performance on Sunday Night Football in Week 2 in a loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Brown was seen on the sideline yelling at Steelers' offensive coordinator Todd Haley. It would later be reported Brown's issue was not getting the ball enough.

Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger obliged, giving him the ball 26 times in the next two games. He responded with 21 catches for 284 yards and two touchdowns.

While it would take the rest of the Steelers' offense some time to catch up to what would be a record-breaking year for Brown, he's carried that momentum into the 2014 season. He already has 22 catches on 28 targets, including a perfect 10 catches on 10 targets in Pittsburgh's most recent 37-19 win over the Carolina Panthers. With 296 yards and three touchdowns in three games, he's easily on pace for a repeat All-Pro selection.

What makes Brown so dangerous, unlike his taller colleagues in the NFL, is his ability to make plays in space. He's not going up over the top of defensive backs for big gains; he's making the catch in space, making a move and outrunning all defenders. Most of his catches come within a few yards of the line of scrimmage, but his 13.3 yards-per-catch average is healthy enough to mistake him for a part-time deep threat.

Indeed he is, too. Brown had a 38-yard touchdown catch in Week 1 and has two catches of 30-yards or more so far this season. His all-around ability was forged from a dedication to his craft and it's paying off big-time in Pittsburgh.

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