Steelers WR Justin Brown Where DHB Wants To Be

Second-year Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Justin Brown is continuing to carve out a niche for himself following the first day of training camp practices. A quick glance around the internet reveals that he put in yet another impressive day with difficult and impressive leaping catches while working with Ben Roethlisberger and the first-team offense.

As Alex Kozora wrote in his day one notes, Brown spent his day working with the starters, or the ‘ones’, including Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton, and Lance Moore, when a play called for a fourth receiver.

So where was Darrius Heyward-Bey? Kozora writes that he spent most of his time working with the camp bodies like Kashif Moore and Lanear Sampson, which is obviously not a very encouraging sign for the veteran free agent.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Reviewwriter Mark Kaboly does note in his observations of the first day of practices, however, that Heyward-Bey worked some with Roethlisberger during a team period, and even hauled in a long touchdown pass.

Overall, however, it certainly seems as though Brown, the former sixth-round pick, will be given every opportunity to work his way into the wide receiver rotation this year, as long as he continues to perform while given a chance.

That is something that he failed to do during his rookie season, and is a big reason why he spent last year on the practice squad instead of the 53-man roster.

In general, he had a pretty fine offseason for a rookie receiver, and got off on the right foot once training camp arrived. He put in a good showing in the opening preseason game, but once the Steelers broke camp for the South Side facility, his performance seemed to trail off, and with it so did his chances of making the roster.

Thus, it is with caution that we note Brown’s current position in the upper tier of the line of demarcation within the wide receiver group, because it could prove to be quite temporary should he slip up at any point.

The Steelers universally seem to believe that they have quite a deep crop of wide receivers this year, so it should be too difficult to replace the fourth or fifth player on the depth chart with the next man up.

Heyward-Bey certainly wouldn’t mind the added reps working with the first-team offense, considering he’s spent the majority of his career as a starting wide receiver. Just the fact that he signed a veteran-minimum contract with the Steelers shows how far he’s fallen in terms of his reputation in a short amount of time.

Another player who could stand to benefit from gobbling up Brown’s reps with Roethlisberger and the other starting receivers would be rookie Martavis Bryant, who, like Brown, is one of the few players in that position room that can offer the offense some height. The top three receivers on the depth chart all come in at under six foot.

It’s important to keep in mind, naturally, that what you see on the first day of training camp is not exactly written in stone. Over the course of the next few weeks, players will be mixed and matched with different groups for one reason or another, all in the effort to help improve the team.

But as of now, it appears that the coaching staff wants to see if Brown can pick up where he left off this spring, and day one was far from a letdown in that regard.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • Paddy

    Each year there is a camp phenom, and each year the bloom fades. I believe it all started with Jack Deloplaine.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Justin brown and Bryant could help them in the red zone if they can live up to expectations. I hope it works out. Justin must have done a lot of improving over the offseason to impress the coaches enough to move up the depth chart.

  • Scott

    sounds like Moye is gonna have a tough time making the team

  • Shannon Stephenson

    We know what DHB brings to the table…we need to get a good idea of exactly what we have in Brown and this is a good way to find out

  • JohnB

    DHB needs to get some Stick ‘Em

  • Jesse Murray

    Not true at all. FWP, Nate Washington, Antonio Brown are just a few off the top of my head that all turned from camp phenoms into starters or big time contributers for this team. I do, however, believe it is far to early to get overly excited about youngsters yet.

  • Steelers@2010

    I agree; I followed this kid coming out of the draft last year, he’s not that fast at all. However, I think he could step into the slot and cause some matchup problems for that #3 CB. DHB? Everybody can’t make the squad, if the numbers are even, I say give it to a younger guy that’s clearly hungry and eager. DHB had his chance, he didn’t do much with it. They have more than enough speed with Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Martavis Bryant. I can’t wait to see this young WR Corps in the preseason.

  • Stealer

    I still can’t get over how DHB torched us a few years back!! And now he’s labeled as a “maybe” to make the roster. Its weird to think this guy was THE guy and now he might be out of a job in a month. I hope he gets it together because when he is hot, he can burn everyone he plays against. Go Steelers.

  • brent

    DHB plays specials Moye doesn’t. If they keep aix the sixth WR will be a special teams guy ala Arnez Battle which is the last time the Steelers carried six.