Who Will Emerge as Big Ben's Top Targets If Mike Wallace Holds Out?
Luckily quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t wanting for receiving targets, starting with his likely go-to Antonio Brown.
Both Wallace and Brown had over 1,000 receiving yards last year, and Brown would easily be Roethlisberger’s primary target if Wallace isn’t on the field.
Emmanuel Sanders suffered a number of injuries last year, which is why Brown rose to such prominence in the Steelers offense. With Wallace on the field, he may fade this season, but without him, he’ll rise up to be one of Roethlisberger’s biggest targets.
Sanders will be facing competition from fellow slot receiver Jerricho Cotchery, however, and his increasing reliability in 2011 means he may have an even bigger role this season, doubly so if Wallace is out. Cotchery is a real red-zone threat.
So is tight end Heath Miller who has been nothing but reliable since working with Roethlisberger. Without Wallace, touchdowns will be at a premium, and short-yardage situations will be common. Luckily, both those areas are Miller’s strongest.
Finally, there’s hybrid RB/WR Chris Rainey. Though he’s a rookie, he is incredibly similar to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Dexter McCluster—small, versatile and blazingly fast.
McCluster was brought on and used by the current Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley when he was Chiefs head coach. With Rainey taking up the McCluster mantle in Pittsburgh, he could be a high-yield receiving target for Big Ben.
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