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Steelers' Most Dangerous Player is WR Markus Wheaton

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Wheaton's best game came against Cleveland in Week 1, and he may have an even better matchup in this one.

Justin K. Aller

We tabbed the first meeting between the Browns and Steelers as Markus Wheaton's arrival party.

He proved that to be an accurate prediction. Wheaton had his best game as a pro, grabbing six passes on seven targets, including two on the game-winning drive, for a total of 97 yards in Pittsburgh's 30-27 win. He may have an even better matchup in Week 6.

Cleveland anticipates having, at best, a limited Joe Haden and, along with that, the Browns will have to use undrafted rookie K'Waun Williams and first-round pick Justin Gilbert to handle the Steelers 3-WR sets.

The Steelers may as well consider Gilbert to be the Candy Bar.

Steelers fans might remember the game against Philadelphia in 2012, when they labeled Eagles CB Brandon Boykin as the Candy Bar for specific reasons not mentioned by their receivers. Boykin, for the most part, held his own in the game, but Antonio Brown did beat him for a critical late-game catch that set up the team's game-winning field goal.

Gilbert has shown less so far in his rookie season than Boykin did at that point. The Steelers should go after Gilbert if he gets on the field. His playing time isn't a given, either. He has found himself on the bench in favor of Williams and, without Haden's injury, may not be seeing the field at all.

 

Watch Markus Wheaton shred the Browns in Week 1.

So with an injured Haden, either an undrafted rookie or a player who performed so poorly early in the year that he was benched will have very tough assignments. They'll have to roll over/under coverage on Brown, leaving whomever is left to cover Wheaton, a player who needs a pick-me-up game after a sub-par game against Jacksonville.

Look for the Browns to attack the Steelers aggressively in the short field, aiming to get quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to look deeper down the field (much like Jacksonville did). That opens up a stronger pass-rush against an offensive line that hasn't been terrible in pass protection, but which must protect a quarterback who loves to let the play break down.

Wheaton will be instrumental in that, and Roethlisberger knows the damage both of his top wide receivers did in Week 1. Wheaton will have less isolated coverage than Brown, and he can make a bigger impact on a per-catch basis.

Be sure to tune into Steelers Final Score, BTSC's postgame wrap-up and call-in show immediately following the Steelers' Week 6 game vs. Cleveland. Listen to it by clicking on this link.