View Full Version : Cook: Showtime Cedrick has caught on with Steelers

07-31-2006, 07:33 AM
Cook: Showtime Cedrick has caught on with Steelers
Monday, July 31, 2006

By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The questions keep coming, one after another. How will the Steelers replace Antwaan Randle El? Can Santonio Holmes be the man? Can he make the tough jump from college to the pros and do it, like, now? Will he stay out of jail long enough to do it? Or will Big Ben have to look more often for Heath Miller to keep the passing game going?

"Wasn't everybody worried about Plaxico leaving last year?" Cedrick Wilson asked the other day.

You remember this time last year?

Before the Steelers won the Super Bowl?

Without Burress?

Wilson's subtle message was clear.

At least when it comes to the Steelers, we're not happy unless we're worried about something.

Know this about Wilson:

He's not worried a lick about the Steelers' passing game. He figures it still is in pretty good hands. Not just Hines Ward's and Holmes' and Miller's. His, too.

Wilson is right.

At this point, it's a lot easier to believe in Wilson than Holmes. At least there's no chance Wilson will miss training camp time because of a court date. And you know Wilson will catch every ball when it counts.

Ward was the Super Bowl MVP, but Wilson might have been the Steelers' most important receiver in the playoffs. Certainly, he was in Cincinnati when his 54-yard catch helped the Steelers to climb out of a 17-7 hole and his 43-yard touchdown catch iced their 31-17 win. Certainly, he was in Denver when he had five catches for 92 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown that gave the Steelers an early 10-0 lead.

"It's funny, people ask me, 'Hey, how'd you do it?' " Wilson said. "How did I do it? I've been doing it my whole career. I was the No. 1 guy in San Francisco."

We didn't see much of it early last season. It wasn't because Wilson was a bad player. He was the third, even the fourth receiving option behind Miller, in an offense that was just as happy to run the ball as throw it.

For all of the fretting about Randle El's departure, he had just 35 catches and one touchdown last season. Those numbers must have looked pretty good to Wilson, though. At the halfway point, he had just nine catches.

Wilson wasn't happy and said so publicly, going so far as to question his decision to sign as a free agent to replace Burress. "I don't know what to do in a situation like this," he said.

It sounded like sour grapes at the time. The Steelers were 6-2. Wilson took a beating on the talk shows. He was called selfish and worse.

"That wasn't negative frustration. It was positive frustration," Wilson says now. "I love this game. I love catching balls. I wanted to help this team."

That didn't stop a few of the Steelers' veterans from moving quickly. James Harrison, Kimo von Oelhoffen and Jerome Bettis -- all of whom had experience changing teams -- pulled Wilson aside and stressed the patience it takes to make a successful transition. James Farrior and Deshea Townsend were a bit more specific.

" 'Enjoy us. Enjoy the guys until you find your way,' " Wilson said they told him.

Apparently, Wilson took the advice to heart.

And yes, he found his way, right to the end zone in Cincinnati and Denver.

Actually, Roethlisberger started going more to Wilson in the second half of the regular season. Who knows? Maybe a little public griping helped. Wilson had just 17 catches in the final eight games and no touchdowns, but he produced big plays of 25, 35, 41, 43 and 46 yards.

Plaxico Who?

"You've got to win the quarterback's trust," Wilson said, shrugging.

Wilson clearly did.

That's why it wasn't so surprising that he came up huge in the postseason. As nice as it was for him to contribute in a couple of win-or-else games -- he also had a 20-yard catch late in the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks on the touchdown drive that gave the Steelers a 7-3 lead in Super Bowl XL -- he said winning the championship was his ultimate thrill.

"That's why I came here. My wish came true. I came here to win a Super Bowl ...

"I'm happy to be a part of this group. I love the guys on this team. They make it so much fun. It's not even like work here."

Wilson's role figures to expand this season for a couple of reasons. One, he -- not Holmes -- will move into the starting lineup opposite Ward. And two, the Steelers figure to open the offense just a bit because of Roethlisberger's experience and maturity. There should be more opportunities for Wilson and Miller.

Here's a guess:

Wilson will have more than 35 catches and one touchdown.

Antwaan Who?


07-31-2006, 07:59 AM
I like Wilson. He's gonna show us some unbelievable moves. :Smile:

07-31-2006, 08:23 AM
Ben has weapons...and he's gonna use them.....

theres always a universal theme here...this team is tight...its a family...they trust each other and have each other's backs....

I'm loving it.....

07-31-2006, 08:23 AM
While I'm hoping Wilson steps it up this season compared to the last regular season, what Cook failed to mention was that before and after Wilson's rant he dropped a couple of passes that were on the money. That tends to turn your QB off. While I'm not completely sold on Wilson as some, his playoff performance is definately a step in the right direction.

Hopefully he can pick up where he left off. I see no reason why he can't, but I want to see it before I'm completely sold on him.

07-31-2006, 10:22 AM
Reading this article makes me feel more at ease...thanks for the post!

07-31-2006, 11:15 AM
Does anyone know what the best WR in the NFL reception percentage is?

Reggie Wayne at 75%. Every other receiver drops more than 1 out of 4, and some of them are pretty good.

Cedric just may surprise us this year.

07-31-2006, 11:19 AM
I like Cedric. I've liked him since he came to Pittsburgh, and I think he'll really step it up next year. He generally manages to come down with the ball when it is thrown at him. He isn't one to drop a lot of passes, and I think he'll shine with more of an opportunity. Plus, he has a nice ass car.

07-31-2006, 11:20 AM
I'm not 100% sold on him YET, but I'm getting there after his performances late in the season and playoffs last year. I think with Ben at the helm, a buffet of talented and gutsy receivers, Heath at the TE position, the versatility of our running game and Wiz's creativity, we are going to have a very exciting offense this season. :cool:

Black@Gold Forever32
07-31-2006, 11:31 AM
Cedric Wilson will be the number 2 until Holmes or Washington show enough to pass him on the depth chart. Then Wilson will be back in the slot where I think he belongs. Don't get me wrong I think he will be just as good as El as the number 2. But lets face it Wilson will never be nothing more then a slot guy. Only reason he is starting is due to inexperience at our WR position. But Wilson is good a WR for the slot. He is a good and we need players like Cedric Wilson on our team.

07-31-2006, 01:50 PM
All Cedric has to do is replace 35 catches and 1 TD. I'm quite sure that can and will be done.

07-31-2006, 05:06 PM
I may not be 'sold' but I really don't have any reason to believe that Post-Season Ced won't show up in the regular season. A bit of a contradiction I know.

Another season with Ken and Ben should have him in stride from the get go. He's not the new guy anymore.

07-31-2006, 05:47 PM
Plus Cedric has a couple of speedsters behind him waiting to take his job.