Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton wasn\'t able to participate in the offseason practices or the mandatory mini camp due to graduation rules, so Saturday will mark his first practice since the rookie camp that took place back in May.
Despite being behind right now, the Oregon State product feels pretty confident that he will catch up quickly in training camp.
"For me, it is pretty much just learning some of the no huddle stuff and the little stuff like that," Wheaton told Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review on Friday. "It is just learning the plays and I think I am pretty much caught up with that. I wasn’t able to get in there with some of the vets so I think that’s all I need to catch up with."
During the offseason practices, veteran wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery talked about the reps that Wheaton missed and how he the team should be able to catch him up once training camp begins.
"Well, this process is huge in the offseason, but we\'ll be able to catch him up," said Cotchery back in may. "But you can never get these reps back. Even these reps are valuable to veterans. So, we\'ll just catch him up, and hopefully he\'ll hit the ground running once he gets here."
On Friday, Plaxico Burress talked about being behind last year due to his late season signing with the team and it somewhat applies to Wheaton\'s situation as well.
"It\'s always more difficult to come into a situation where everyone is pretty much ahead of you," Burress said, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
New Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann is a stickler for technique and he has developed his fair share of young wide receivers over the years. During the draft, Mann talked about Wheaton having "juice" and how he\'s a player they can move around.
"I think we can move him around and the one thing that he has is juice," Mann said during the draft. "That’s what you have to take advantage of. I’ve seen him play the strong side, but we all know that he’s slightly built and he’ll be productive and we just have to game plan and decide what position we want to put him in. But he’s a guy who’s very versatile. We say that because we’ve seen it on tape."
Wheaton said on Friday that his other goal besides catching up is making the team.
“Making the team is the first goal. I am going to have to do that first,” Wheaton said.
Yeah, I don\'t think he has to worry about that.