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Old 07-28-2009, 01:28 PM   #1
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Default Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

Steelers Training Camp: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement
July 28, 8:49 AM
Pittsburgh Sports Examiner

The Pittsburgh Steelers have all 80 players entering camp under contract when their training camp begins this Friday in Latrobe. The signing last weekend of first round pick Ziggy Hood assured that.

As for key losses from the Super Bowl season, there are a few. But the one that should be the most interesting to watch, at least from a position battle standpoint, is the wide-receiver spot and who stands out to take Nate Washington's No. 3 spot.

While many believe it will be last year's No. 2 pick Limas Sweed, a man who has worked very hard in the off season to better his game, how he handles the pressure of an open competition is yet to be seen. There is also a good case that rookie Mike Wallace, who was a steal in the third round could come into the mix.

The most intriguing though, is veteran Shaun McDonald. Back in April, the Pittsburgh Sports Examiner was the first media outlet to report the Steelers had signed the free-agent wideout. Now that he's wearing the black and gold, he could prove to be not only Washington's replacement, but also an impact player for the Steelers.

Last year, when the team looking to add some depth to the running corps they brought in little known Mewelde Moore.

Like McDonald, the signing was a quiet one with little fanfare. Although Moore did very little in the pre-season, he showed his value in weeks 4-5-6, rushing for 99, 120 and 84 yards when both Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall were injured. His ability to come up big when needed, played a key role in the Steelers drive to the Super Bowl.

Unlike Moore, though, McDonald who is 5-feet-10 and 183 is no secret. In 2007 he led Detroit with 79 receptions, 943 yards and six touchdowns. In 2008, McDonald started seven of the 12 games in which he played and caught 35 passes for 332 yards and a touchdown.

To put that in perspective, Washington had 40 grabs last year for the Steelers in 16 games. McDonald can also return punts which makes him more valuable. In 2008, he returned 11 punts for 104 yards (9.5 avg.) with a long of 27.

The top Steeler return man in 2008 was Santonio Holmes, who had a long of 35 and and 6.6 average.

Sweed took a lot of flak for dropping a sure touchdown pass in the AFC Championship game last year. But at 6-4, he could become a prime target in the end zone for Ben Roethlisberger.

Lets not forget that Plaxico Burress also took a lot of heat his first year with the Steelers and had a big blunder himself when he tossed a ball to the ground in celebration and it was recovered by the opposing team.

While McDonald does not have the explosiveness that Washington brought to the table, he is a reliable veteran wide out who knows how to come up with the big play when needed.

http://www.examiner.com/x-2703-Pitts...ns-replacement
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:37 PM   #2
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

It's going to be Sweed ... bank on it! I'll wager on it!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

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It's going to be Sweed ... bank on it! I'll wager on it!
I agree...I think McDonald will start the season as #3, but Sweed will work himself into the slot and be Washingtons replacement for years to come.
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:48 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

I think you'll see McDonald and Sweed switch based on formation more so than abilities.

I also think you'll see the Steelers run more 4 WR formations, giving the illusion of the pass threat to help open up the running game more. Especially with the talent at WR, it definitely could open things up for Willie, Mendenhall, Moore, and Summers!
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Old 07-28-2009, 01:51 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

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I think you'll see McDonald and Sweed switch based on formation more so than abilities.

I also think you'll see the Steelers run more 4 WR formations, giving the illusion of the pass threat to help open up the running game more. Especially with the talent at WR, it definitely could open things up for Willie, Mendenhall, Moore, and Summers!
Exellent point!!
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:11 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

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Lets not forget that Plaxico Burress also took a lot of heat his first year with the Steelers and had a big blunder himself when he tossed a ball to the ground in celebration and it was recovered by the opposing team.
Exactly!!! gonna be SWEEEEEEEEED!!
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

I know McDonald was probably signed as insurance in case Sweed doesn't come around, but if Sweed does make the improvement many of us think he will, this gives us a pretty deep receiver corp. If one does go down it shouldn't be quite so damaging to us.
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:29 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

My impression is that when Nate was in the game it was Hines in the slot. Am I wrong on this?

Therefore, Sweed will line up wide when he's in and it will still be Hines in the slot most of the time. Am I wrong on this?
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Old 07-28-2009, 03:43 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

I think at the beginning of the year, Sweed and McDonald will split playing time 50/50. After a while, though, Sweed will prove to be capable of the 3rd WR role, and he will get the majority of the playing time, over McDonald.
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Old 07-28-2009, 11:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shaun McDonald could be Nate Washington's replacement

Shaun is really underrated, but i'll be pissed if Sweed doesnt win the job. If he cant win the #3 spot, im gonna start to get worried.
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