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Emmanuel Sanders Needs To Stop Showing His Frustration Before Plays Are Over


Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders is second on the team in receptions with 20 but has only caught 52.6% of the passes thrown his way. While he has only dropped one pass that he should have caught, it’s easy to suggest that he might not be on the same page with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to start the season.

Sanders, who is perhaps the best route runner on the team outside of tight end Heath Miller, certainly wasn’t one with his quarterback in the third quarter Sunday in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings and it resulted in an interception on one particular play.

On a first down play with just under six minutes to go in the third quarter, Sanders zigged when he should have zagged and Roethlisberger head faked when he should have just threw the ball. As a result, Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway was given a gift interception and the Vikings offense turned that gift into seven points just two plays later.

Following the interception, Sanders visibly showed his frustration instead of first focusing on tackling Greenway. Thankfully, center Fernando Velasco was there to make the tackle.

Sanders is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent following the season and he knows he needs a good season in order to cash in. His actions Sunday will certainly catch the ire of head coach Mike Tomlin and it will be interesting to see how it is handled as a result.

I’m sure that Sanders isn’t the only player that’s frustrated after an 0-4 start, but that frustration should never show during a play. Sunday wasn’t the first time we’ve seen Sanders do this as he did it the previous week against the Chicago Bears following a fumble by running back Felix Jones. With the ball still laying loose on the ground, Sanders turns his back to it after missing a block on the play.

Sanders Bears

Sanders Bears

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Fritz Baughman

    Just like the rest of the team – poorly coached and immature as hell.

  • steeltown

    WOW.. I noticed that one against Minnesota, but I didn’t see that one against Chicago.. just terrible, simply terrible

    Funny, I used to really like Sanders.. I liked him more than A.Brown, now I am so indifferent I wouldn’t mind them moving Cotchery and Wheaton up on the depth chart. He sure as hell is NOT getting that really “good deal” of contract with play like that

  • Bilgewater D

    Should not have matched the Patriots offer. We’re going to need all the picks we can get to re-build.

  • Fritz Baughman

    Is it me, or has every WR we have drafted in the past 6 years ended up being a total douche? The flashy, baby, whiny, ‘look at me I gotta 1st down’, BS.

  • steeltown

    Its funny but you are kinda right… I think Wheaton will break that mold, he is truly a humble, smart and reserved kid

  • charles

    Easy solution. Inactivate Sanders activate Moye.

  • Eric

    I remember another former Steeler that showed frustration after bad plays and did not chase defenders after an interception. His name was Mike Wallace. I also remember a preseason game where a Steeler receiver chased a defender 55 yards to save a pick6. His name is Derek Moye. Do you remember “Next man up”?

  • Eric

    The douchiness seems to be concentrated in the 3rd round picks.

  • Apexsimba

    I can’t tell if you’re actually serious…

  • Eric

    Thats easy to say with 20/20 but at the time the decision was made, we needed our franchise QB to have experienced receivers. We did not know that our franchise QB would not have time to throw any passes when we matched the offer.

  • Eric

    Thanks for pointing out Wheaton. I changed my post to exclude him.

  • Mike Carroll

    Thanks for highlighting these failures by Sanders. I was absolutely furious with Sanders last week on the Jones fumble and mentioned it on here a couple of times. But, great to see it highlighted in an article for people who might have missed it on the field. It’s just such a poor display of professional football, and very well may have impacted last week’s game. Sanders probably had at least a 50/50 chance of making the fumble recovery if he paid attention.

  • charles

    Very serious. Last year we had redzone problems. Bens favorite (and best redzone pass) is the corner lob. Moye is the heighth that we need to be successful there.

  • Mike.H

    RE: Sander’s expression / behavior…

    I know man, who does Sanders think he plays for, The Dallas Cowboys?! Come on!

  • Mike.H

    What is the NFL’s intention of placing 8 players on the inactive list?

    Does it make the game more interesting due to more drama, more uphill challenging? It’d make more parity in my opinion.

  • Eric

    I saw the Chicago gaff, but not Minnesota. That was probably because I was really depressed watching the game yesterday.

  • rizzo29

    Reflection of the Head Coach

  • Mike.H

    Dave, Matthew or Chris, do you have enough ink / bandwith to write an in-depth analysis on –

    “what’s wrong with the 2013 Steelers”?

  • Virdin Barzey

    I gotta say, that was a horrible pass by Ben. Not sure if I wouldn’t have acted the same way. I get what most of you are saying and I agree. That young money crew is a mess. I still like Brown but Wallet and Sanders don’t seem to fit this team. I may be wrong but Brown seems to enjoy the game and plays hard. The other two clearly seem to be playing to get paid. I ain’t mad at him but that’s not what we need on this team. I like Cotch but we need a burner to stretch the field.

  • Tom Savastano

    Not looking good for him returning next year..

  • Don

    I don’t think you can really call that one a “horrible pass”. It wasn’t a designed play, it was improvisation as the play broke down. Sanders stopped and changed direction right when Ben was throwing it, so it’s more a matter that they weren’t in synch.

  • Don

    I think more a reflection of the position. The douchiest players in the league are always WRs.

  • Dan

    Santonio Holmes was drafted 7 years ago.

  • Dan

    I think he’s a decently talented WR and you’re correct poorly coached and immature. Maturity often (not always) comes with age. Poor coaching can be rectified by good coaching. Herein lies the problem.

  • Mike.H

    I have a feeling Felix Jones realizes this may be his last year in the NFL, at most 2 left… [ time to find a real job that pays $30k a year, a nightmare ]

  • WilliamSekinger

    Lets put this in context. Sanders on the play is standing (yes standing in the flat with no defender withing 10 yards of him. Ben is looking right at him. Instead of throwing the ball Ben decided to roll out of the pocket, look to his right, come and back to his left and3 seconds (yes it was at least that long) later finally throws to Sanders but leads him to the inside toward a defender that finally decided Sanders needed to be covered.

    I really can’t blame Sanders for being frustrated by his QBs indecision and a really poor throw.

    That is not to excuse what Sanders did though. He should know better than to give up on a live ball.

  • gene mann

    I thought Mann was going to be a stern influence. Sanders should have been let go for the 3rd round pick

  • Shannon Stephenson

    and you think our offense would be better with only 1 legit WR?

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Moye is not where Sanders is by any stretch. I like what Moye brings and wish he was active on game day but he doens’t have many plays he can run in his arsenal. Sanders little hiccups can be easily solved.

  • pittsburghjoe

    This is squarely on Sanders. Do not blame someone else for a grown adult actions. He is a professional, correct? Then act like it. End of story.

  • AndyR34

    Can’t argue with m*r*ns…don’t you know that all 3rd round picks are better than any starter? Oh wait…Sanders was a 3rd round pick.

  • sean mcmartin

    It shows in a few of the Players. They ARE under bad coaching. Even guys who have talent are not being properly motivated to win. Coaching is sub-standard..

  • HiVul

    I think with the Sanders deal we’d be about breaking even if not more risk with the 3rd rounder. But for a team that builds through the draft almost exclusively, I would like to see them find a way to get more draft picks every once in a while. Maybe the contract situations and timing just don’t allow it but I can’t remember the last time we lost a notable player and got something in return.

  • Fritz Baughman

    Al lot of these kids are simply that – kids. They might be 24 years old, etc…but they are still kids. It’s the coaches job to make sure this crap doesn’t happen – especially twice. If you don’t have proper leadership, then being a ‘professional’ doesn’t go very far.

  • Apexsimba

    And you want to get rid of the second best receiver on our team for an unproven commodity just because he’s tall?

  • Chad H

    It starts with the head coach period! The last 3 years has been locker room trash talk players acting out and arguing with coaches on the sidelines. This was not allowed by the 2 previous HC’s. Sure from time to time there was a little but the previous coaches put a stop and would lite a fire in players asses for crap like this. At 0-4 things like this will take over a locker room and separate a team into individual players. My friends and fellow “The Steelers Way” or the high way fans we are seeing the beginning of the end of this coaching staff. Maybe this year I am guessing next year. Expect more of this. Everyone please look up the definition of Leadership and see if that is what this team has.

  • treeher

    Not Ben’s fault. He was faked out by his own receiver. Gotta have that connection with the receiver. You don’t see that happening with Miller or in the past with Ward.

  • HopalongCassidy

    Someone needs to light a fire under Tomlin. That could be the biggest problem. Art Rooney needs to light that fire…bigtime !

  • treeher

    It wasn’t indecision. Sanders was not primary, all good QBs will look off the defenders. Ben’s primary was covered so he came back to Sanders, who he had seen uncovered. It wasn’t a poor throw, he put it exactly where he wanted to. Sanders faked out his own QB on the play. They’ve got to get on the same page. And, you can’t blame Sanders for being frustrated? Save your frustration for the bench and play to the whistle.

  • treeher

    One? So you’re saying Cotch is not legit? Wheaton is not legit? And everything Moye has done has been exceptional, all he needs is snaps.

  • charles

    0-4 is very close to time to juggle the lineup. Sander’s drops (including the very first play of our season) make him a prime candidate but by no means the only candidate.

  • charles

    Sanders our second best reciever, our offense is not THAT bad.

  • WilliamSekinger

    First, last time I checked the depth chart Sanders is listed as WR1, which means he is the primary on most plays. That play was designed to go to Sanders and Ben didn’t throw it until way too late.
    Second, Sanders was standing flatfooted, why lead a receiver standing still? and if you lead a receiver wouldn’t it make sense to lead your receiver away from an on-coming defender?

  • sean mcmartin

    The Steelers say the build through the draft, Unless the cap has them . Then they release good drafted talent because they can’t pay them anything more than vet minimum..

  • treeher

    Sorry, you are wrong unless Steelers paid Brown $40 million to be a secondary receiver, and oh, maybe results so far indicate Brown is numero uno. Second, Sanders was not flat footed, what play were you watching? He juked to the inside, which was probably his intended route, and then stopped. Then he had a temper tantrum on the field and thanks to Velasco the guy was tackled. And, how do you know it was designed to go to Sanders? I haven’t seen the interview where that’s stated. Why are you carrying water for this guy?

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    Bell already has more receptions and yards than Wheaton. So no, at this point Wheaton is not legit. I fully expect him to get there, but be realistic. Cotchery is no big threat, and has his own issues. Dave didn’t call him out because he likes him, but Cotch was just as wrong on the pick six against the Bears as Sanders was on the pick against the Vikes. Everything Moye does has been exceptional? based on what? His 1 NFL reception?

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    Sanders drops? You didn’t read the part where Dave said he’s only dropped one ball that he should have caught?

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    Moye should be active, but it makes zero sense whatsoever to do it at the expense of Sanders.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    It’s more that Sanders is nowhere near as bad as you seem to think he is.

  • treeher

    Well, my point is that you dissed them as not legitimate. I’ll assume you were overreacting. I’m just not getting good vibes from Sanders – the Patriots fiasco, dropped balls, apparent lack of effort, poor routes (he’s supposed to be the route master), immature reactions on the field. He sees himself signing a huge contract like his current and former brethren, but he has a long way to go to merit that. He won’t be around next year.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    I didn’t diss anyone, that was my first comment on this thread.

    I agree that he doesn’t seem to have his head on straight this year, but I expect that to change as he realizes the $$$ involved. Sanders isn’t exactly Wallace, where he can phone in a season and still expect big money. The background isn’t there.

  • WilliamSekinger

    I’m carrying no one’s water, just stating facts. Sanders is listed as WR1 and as such is the primary receiver on most passing plays. Heath along with the wide out on the left side (Can’t tell who) clears out the zone while Sanders runs a shallow crossing pattern and sits down in the vacated zone and waits…and waits…and waits. This is a classic play. If Ben had thrown the ball immediately this would have been a big gain. Instead he is looking downfield, and scrambling. When he does finally throw it Sanders is standing flatfooted begins to reverse his field sees the defender closing on him and starts changing direction again.

    Search for: Roethlisberger intercepted by Greenway. NFL dot com video. 0.25 is the beginning of the endzone view of the play.

  • treeher

    Well, there is no explanation for Ben not throwing the ball right away except that he wanted a deeper ball, because Sanders was open all the way across the field. While the late decision to throw to him was not good, Sanders didn’t help his quarterback. For example, I think an experienced receiver such as Hines Ward would have trailed back over the middle on that play when he saw Ben start to move instead of moving away from him.

  • WilliamSekinger

    We are finally getting somewhere :) Sanders does try to go back towards the middle of the field and IMO stopped because a defender is closing on him. Receivers are taught to run away from defenders after all, not towards them. Ben however doesn’t even see the defender and leads Sanders too much. This is all moot though because as soon as Sanders sits down, his route is over, it’s all improvising from then on.
    Bottom line is Ben caused the interception and I stand by my original post. I can see why Sanders is so frustrated on the play, but that does not excuse him for giving up on a live ball.

  • treeher

    Until someone asks Ben what he saw on the play and why he threw late to Sanders, we won’t know for sure, but I was with you until you said definitively that Ben caused the interception. The interception was caused by a mis-communication between receiver and QB in that Ben thought he was going to continue his inside move. I don’t think it happens with a more experienced receiver.

  • gene mann

    yes they would have been fine with Cotch and brown and Wheaton and Moye and have a 3rd rounder in the bank. 4 game Moye has more TD than Sanders

  • gene mann

    i not sure who your calling that but the crew they would have a nice group and have a 3rd rounder in the books. besides your not sure who will they have added

  • Shannon Stephenson

    At this moment you are wrong. If Wheaton was ready he would be the 3rd WR which he isn’t and if Cotchery was so good he would have signed with another team to be a #2 but he didnt cause he isnt. Stop being delusional. Moye cant even get a helmet on Sunday for goodness sakes!

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Cotch is a decent WR but there is no way he is a #2. He has never been a #2 in his career and at his age I am sure he didnt just became that much better. Wheaton should become a legit threat but isnt quite there yet

  • steeler fan

    They need to start playing plaxico burress 6’5″ 232lbs helloour recivers are to small

  • Guest

    Over Sanders short career he has in fact only caught only 50% of the passes thrown his way. And is he really the 2nd best WR on this team? He has acted like this his entire career it’s one of the reason we shouldn’t have matched NE’s offer. This money crew thing should have been dealt with a long time ago. Like i have said in other post we no longer act like the Steelers so how can you possible expect us to resemble them.This is going to take a long time and some good people to fix these problems, unfortunately these people are currently working for the Steelers.

  • charles

    Sanders is a Steeler and that is where my support ends.

  • charles

    Perhaps one of our 5 TEs?

  • charles

    It is that Sanders and AB are the same type of threat. And AB is a team leader as well as a much better reciever. Further you have good football sense and know the value of multiple types of threats and the problems that that poses for the opposition DC.

  • http://pittsburghsportsinat.blogspot.com/ bgsteelfan

    True, they are very similar. I do think though, that Sanders has a bit more of a possession element while Brown brings a more dynamic element. I also think, because of what you said, that Moye needs to be active every week.

  • CrazyTerry

    Mike Wallace used to give up on plays when he had to fight through minor holds which is why he rarely drew pass interference calls. Fight thorugh the plays good or bad 100% and good things will happen more often than not. Sanders has the same problem.

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