Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger already knows what he has in wide receivers Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery and on Thursday, he said he\’s liked what he\’s seen so far out of his newest wide receiver, rookie Markus Wheaton.
“He\’s a hard worker,” Roethlisberger said. “You don\’t see him make the same mistake twice, so when you tell him something, he works on it and to me, that\’s big when it\’s a young guy, a new guy. If they make the same mistake over and over it means they\’re not focused and not working at it. He doesn\’t make the same mistake twice, and he works hard and wants to be great, and that\’s what you want to see from a young guy.”
Wheaton, who now has four receptions for 60 yards heading into the third preseason game Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs, said Monday night after the game against the Washington Redskins that he feels like he\’s taking consistent steps forward.
“I think so, I think so,” said Wheaton. “With the help of the veteran guys, especially Cotchery, they help me out a lot and with them teaching me something every day, I feel I\’m able to make gains everyday.”
“He\’s doing a great job,” said the Steelers veteran wide receiver during his post game talk Monday night with the media. “He played mostly on the outside tonight and did a great job on the deep ball.”
The deep ball Monday night that Cotchery is referencing is of course the 45-yard reception that Wheaton hauled in from third-string quarterback Landry Jones in the third quarter. On the play, which you can see animated gifs of below, Wheaton showed not only his speed, but his ability to separate on a straight go route against off coverage when he dropped his head and hips as part of a double move that fooled Redskins cornerback Chase Minnifield.
Wheaton, much like every other young wide receiver who comes into the league, is sure to have a few growing pains along the way, and he fully understands that despite all the praise he has received from his teammates over the course of the last week, that he has to continue taking steps forward.
“I appreciate it, especially coming from a guy like Ryan [Clark],” Wheaton said about Clark\’s comments last week during a radio interview that included the veteran safety saying the Oregon State product is already a more polished route runner with better hands than his predecessor Mike Wallace. “Then again, I realize I have a lot to build on. I\’ll use this game to see what I can do to get better.”