As soon as former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace signed with the Miami Dolphins at the start of free agency this past offseason, the speculation was that if Emmanuel Sanders was back in Pittsburgh for a fourth season that he would be the one that would play the “X” position that Wallace played.
According to an interview Sanders gave Wednesday morning on 93.7 The Fan, it will actually be Antonio Brown that will be moving over to fill Wallace\’s old spot on the outside.
“Antonio\’s actually moving over to Mikes position and I\’m playing the “Z”, which is a flanker position,” said Sanders. “It’s definitely different. I’m moving from the slot to the outside, and I’ve been playing slot all four years of college, [and] ever since I got here. This is my first year on the outside, and I’m kind of liking it, you know? All you got to do is beat one of the cornerbacks. You don’t have to worry about linebackers, safeties, any of that. So I like it.”
Sanders is most definitely the better blocker between he and Brown, so it makes sense that he would be the flanker, a role played so well for so many years by Hines Ward. The Steelers used quite a bit of their 11 personnel package last year and Sanders usually played in the slot when there were three wide receivers on the field.
Does this mean that Sanders could potentially end the 2013 season with more snaps than Brown? It\’s possible. The Steelers don\’t use a lot of one wide receiver sets, but when they do, you would have to think Sanders would be on the field because of the way he blocks.
This isn\’t huge news as both Sanders and Brown will both have plenty of opportunities to stretch the field. However, Sanders very well could see a few more targets than Brown in 2013, but Brown\’s total yards could possibly be more than Sanders, who figures to be more of the possession receiver of the two.