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mesaSteeler
11-24-2011, 09:37 AM
Steelers' Brown climbing ladder of elite WRs

By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Thursday, November 24, 2011

Numbers might better illustrate Antonio Brown's emergence than words.

The 22nd wide receiver taken in the 2010 draft has 18 third-down receptions, which ranks third in the NFL.

His 282 receiving yards on third down are also third-most in the league, and that statistic is another reason why Brown has staked his claim to the No. 2 standing on a deep and talented receiving corps.

"I always knew I was capable," Brown said. "It's a league of opportunities, and that's all it's about."

Taking advantage of his opportunities is not the only reason why Brown, who turned 23 in July, has earned the trust of Ben Roethlisberger. And when the Steelers quarterback called Brown a "gnat" earlier this week he meant it as the highest compliment.

"If you watch us during practice, he's constantly by my side," Roethlisberger said. "He's just always right there and it's good because he's coming to me asking 'OK, Ben on this play do you want me to do this, do you want me to do this?' And I think that's awesome because I know where he's going to be and that's one of the biggest reasons why I think we've been so successful on third down."

The Steelers could have never guessed that Brown would progress this quickly after they spent the 195th overall pick in the 2010 draft on him.

The Steelers had received the sixth-round selection as well as cornerback Bryant McFadden from the Arizona Cardinals in a draft-day draft. The Steelers had given Arizona the fifth-round pick they had received when they traded wide receiver Santonio Holmes to the New York Jets.

The trade looks like it might have been a fair one even if Brown and Holmes were the only two involved in the deal.

Holmes has more of a resume, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin would put it. But Brown has 154 more receiving yards and nine more receptions than Holmes through the first 10 games of the season.

Brown, who came to the Steelers by way of North Carolina Tech, a prep school, and Central Michigan University, hasn't just helped replace a former Super Bowl MVP (Holmes) in Pittsburgh.

The 5-10, 186-pounder appears to have supplanted one as well.

Brown started in place of Hines Ward in a 24-17 win at Cincinnati, and he appears to have moved ahead of the team's all-time leading receiver even though Ward is still listed as a starter on the Steelers' depth chart.

"He is improving in all areas," Tomlin said of Brown, "in route-running, coverage recognition, being quarterback friendly and just an overall understanding of the game and how he fits in the big picture. That's what we expect of all second-year men, to grow by leaps and bounds in all areas and he has done that to this point."

Brown gave a glimpse of what was to come last January when he made spectacular and timely catches in playoff wins over the Ravens and Jets.

Now, he is on a pace for his first 1,000-yard season by exploiting secondaries that pay too much attention to Steelers No. 1 wide receiver Mike Wallace.

"When you get single coverage and a guy that's as talented as he is, with body control, with his hands, he's got the speed to run deep... He just has a lot of tools (and) he puts in the extra work," Roethlisberger said.

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.



Read more: Steelers' Brown climbing ladder of elite WRs - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_768894.html#ixzz1edLXKVLE

DanRooney
11-24-2011, 09:39 AM
But does he know the playbook? :chuckle:

Whodis
11-24-2011, 10:14 AM
I can't remember being this thick at wide receiver.

Imagine if we had a running game?

steelfury02
11-24-2011, 10:57 AM
I can't remember being this thick in the gut

xbroughneck
11-24-2011, 11:15 AM
Steelers were looking for a Santonio Holmes replacement.

Good route runner, good hands, special teams player.

Antonio is proving to be that guy more than any other receiver. If he can take the next step and become the "clutch" guy that Ben can go to because he always manages to get open....I see another super bowl championship.



Antonio is the best overall receiver on this team right now.

skinart82
11-24-2011, 12:28 PM
I just hope we can at least keep all three top receivers. 17, 84 and
88 are the future of this team!

steeltheone
11-24-2011, 04:24 PM
BR7 makes the difference....Put our guys with Sanchez, you would see the reversal in Stats..

finesward
11-24-2011, 08:25 PM
But does he know the playbook? :chuckle:

How complicated can it be to learn a pro offense, read defenses, run crisp routes, and have timing with your qb in your second year out of nc tech and central Michigan u with no offseason workouts? What the Hell were they waiting for? He had speed and body control in the preseason!

lipps83
11-24-2011, 08:30 PM
The catch though is can we keep both him and Wallace?

I don't think so, so then between the two, who do you keep?

SunshineMan21
11-25-2011, 01:04 AM
Antonio is the best overall receiver on this team right now.

Besides, you know, Mike Wallace?

BLACK_AND_YELLOW
11-25-2011, 02:57 AM
Besides, you know, Mike Wallace?

Mike Wallace is the better receiver he is just getting double coverage just wait when AB becomes better who will defenders double cover then? waiting....:coffee:

Bayz101
11-25-2011, 03:15 AM
Mike Wallace is the better receiver he is just getting double coverage just wait when AB becomes better who will defenders double cover then? waiting....:coffee:

Ben isn't looking Wallace's way right away like he used to. He usually looks right towards AB. Wallace may be getting double coverage, but with AB's performance as of late, I don't think he'd see the ball much either way. Ben is working well with AB on the field, and he'll continue to throw both receivers way.

Besides, Calvin Johnson, Steve Smith, Larry Fitz and Anquan Boldin all receive double coverage, and they still put up 100 yard averages. It all comes down to who your quarterback is throwing at, and lately, it's been Brown.

Bayz101
11-25-2011, 03:19 AM
Jerricho Cotchery is bringing in a lot of tosses.

I'm really liking this guy. He hasn't much time at all to get on the same page as Ben, yet he's been pretty damn good at making quality plays.

Cotchery, Brown and Heath Miller have impressed me more than any other receiver over the past 4 games. Are WR core is deeeeeeep.

Bayz101
11-25-2011, 03:24 AM
The catch though is can we keep both him and Wallace?

I don't think so, so then between the two, who do you keep?

I'd say there's a pretty damn good chance we could keep them. Sure, right now we may be tight on cap space. But the off-season is a completely different set of boundaries. Not to mention our receiving core seems pretty happy we're they are. We're a team that has been in contention for a while now, and we'll probably be in contention for years to come, and that'll be something these rookies'll want to keep at heart and mind.

I'd say we'll keep Brown and Wallace for sure. Not sure about Sanders, but it's too early to speculate to much at all to be honest. Ben could suffer an injury in practice, before Sunday even arrives, and all this talk would be put to rest about as quick as the opposite end of a Ryan Clark hit!

GMU Steeler
11-25-2011, 04:37 PM
i think there's a possibility we can keep both. There was concern we'd only be able to keep one of Woodley and Timmons, and we got both for reasonable extensions. Loving the way Brown has turned out though and that he's not just a one hit wonder though that catch last year against the Ravens in the playoffs has me liking AB a lot. Our scouting at WR has really been good these past couple years. I had never heard of Antonio, Mike, and Emmanuel coming out of college but they're all doing a solid job. Hard to believe we got Wallace as a third rounder and Brown in the sixth and here he is on pace for an 1000 yard receiving year in his sophomore year.