Report: Mike Wallace To Start At Denver, Chris Rainey Now First Team Returner

Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports Monday that Emmanuel Sanders said that Mike Wallace will start the opener Sunday night in Denver. Sanders, who had been working in the “X” receiver spot while Wallace was away because of his decision not to sign his restricted tender offer until last week, will now likely return to his slot position as the team\’s number three wide receiver.

Wallace told Bouchette on Monday that he didn\’t think that they would limit the plays he must know this week heading into the opener and that he doesn\’t think they should have to either. He also told Bouchette that he got good work in on Friday and Saturday with wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery, which game him a good jump on things.

Wallace also stated via Bouchette after his first practice back on Monday that he thinks the arm of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is stronger than where it left off last year and that the quarterback throws much better than Tom Shaw, who Wallace trained with down in Florida prior to reporting last week and signing his restricted tender.

As far as Sanders goes, Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports Monday that new depth chart shows rookie running back Chris Rainey listed as the first team punt and kick returner over Sanders. Sanders entered the offseason being told he would return punts and kicks this season, but that was before Rainey was drafted this past April.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I’m happy for Rainey. I will just cross my fingers and pray he learns to get down a bit quicker if there is no hope of making a play. Dude is small and could get crunched easily if he’s not smart about it. He is very exciting to watch though.

  • SteelSpine

    So funny Wallace said “Ben’s arm is even stronger than last year”. Translation: “I want Ben to throw more balls to the speed receiver playing to get a new long-term contract, the speed receiver who’s specialty is running deep downfield under bombs.” Each bomb this year increases his value $ in free agency at end of this year.

  • SteelerDave

    I do not expect a contract at this point and see Wallace going elsewhere next season. His speed has been exciting for us and his hands are decent. However, if Sanders shows his foot problems are a thing of the past and Brown continues to evolve as he has, then Wallace is simply not worth the huge money he thinks he is worth.

    I am more than comfortable letting Wallace walk, Brown and Sanders leading us forward and using that extra money/cap space for the future.

  • Jason Brown

    Curious…how can Wallace REALLY learn the whole playbook in a very short period of time? I get that he’s a threat just because he’s fast, but would opposing defenses tend toward not worrying about him because he hasn’t been in camp to work with Ben in the new offense? If that’s not a concern, what does that say about the need for other receivers (let’s say Brown for example) to be there for the duration of training camp? Why not just blow it off since you know you’re going to be in the starting rotation?

  • SteelSpine

    Exactly. I’ve always liked the tools Wallace has, but those questions are legit questions.