Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is making the rounds at ESPN on Wednesday and that included him being a guest on The Scott Van Pelt Show to talk about being a restricted free agent this offseason as well as what he sees for himself in 2013.
With Mike Wallace now gone via free agency to the Miami Dolphins, Sanders was asked to talk about his role in the Steelers offense will be this coming season.
“It increases,” said Sanders. “I move up to the No. 2 receiver. I\’m going from the No. 3 and I\’m looking forward to it. That No. 3, you only get three or four targets and you got to play your role. I come in on third down and I got to catch third down catches. I played that role and now I\’m coming into the starting role. They\’re expecting 70 catches for 1,000 yards and that\’s the same thing that I expect for myself. So I\’m looking forward to the opportunity.”
While Sanders talks about only being in on third downs as a third wide receiver, it should be noted that only 37 of his 94 career catches have come on that down. Semantics, but those are the facts.
As far as being thrown to on third downs, Sanders has been targeted a total of 68 times on third downs over the coarse of his first three seasons in the league and his 54% catch rate needs to improve on the money down. For comparison purposes, fellow Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown has been targeted 78 times in total on third downs over the course of the same three years and he has caught 51 of those passes for a 65% catch rate.
So with Sanders expected to catch 70 passes for a 1,000 yards this season, are you taking the over or the under?