Pittsburgh Steelers second-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton has been functioning most of the offseason as the starter opposite Antonio Brown, but the former third-round draft pick is not taking that spot for granted.
“Oh yeah. I am pretty sure if you ask anybody else they will say the same thing. Everyone wants that spot. It hasn’t been given away yet. Everything I am doing right now is focused on getting that spot.”
Just as Wheaton was starting to receive considerable playing time during his rookie year, a busted up finger suffered in the loss to the Minnesota Vikings over in London really impacted the remainder of his season.
“I couldn’t play for those four weeks. When I came back it was getting used to playing with the splint. I don’t think I slowed down. It was trying to deal with the injury.”
While a splint might not seem like a huge deal, it certainly was tough for Wheaton to adjust to.
“Definitely. Trying to play with the splint on I couldn’t go out there and play as freely and fast as I wanted to. I am healthy now and I am comfortable and relaxed out there.”
Last year, Wheaton wasn’t able to take part in any of the offseason practices due to graduation rules. This year, he’s been able to take part in all of them and it’s made him a lot more comfortable and relaxed as a result.
“I don’t have to think as much when I hear the play in the huddle. I don’t have to think as much going up to the line. I can play faster when I don’t have to think as much.”
As the team wraps up their minicamp on Thursday, Wheaton knows that there is only one thing that he has to do moving forward in order to secure the starting spot opposite Brown
“Just make plays, be a playmaker. You have to know the playbook, minimize mistakes, make plays and compete.”