Looking to be the complete package
By Teresa Varley – Steelers.com
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Wide receiver Mike Wallace has no problem using his speed to go downfield and beat a corner one on one to make a huge catch. It’s something he has been doing since he started playing football and he doesn’t plan on changing.
“That is what I pride myself on,” said Wallace. “I have been doing that since high school, getting behind everybody. I am going to continue doing that until someone shows me otherwise, that’s what I will do.”
But to be a complete weapon in the Steelers offense, he is going to have to count on more than his speed.
“It’s not about the big catch. I have seen him do that enough to know that it’s part of his game,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “It’s about the development of the complete game for him. I would be more excited about him catching a hitch and turning it up field and creating more yards after. I’m challenging him to be a complete player, and he’s embracing that challenge. There’s no question he can get behind people. He’s been doing that all his life. I’m looking for steps in other areas for him in terms of a well-rounded game.”
Wallace spent a lot of time during the offseason working on the different aspects of his game and knows that his versatility will help the offense.
“You have to be able to complement your game,” said Wallace. “I just can’t be out there going deep all of the time. People are going to catch on to that. I have to be able to switch up my game and be able to stop on a dime and come back to the ball.
“The way defenses play me they are going to back up. They will let me get the short routes. Eventually if you keep doing that we are going to drive down the field anyway and you’re going to have to come up and we’ll be able to go over the top. You have to have a short passing game to be able to complement the long passing game.”
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Quarterback Byron Leftwich isn’t sure what his playing time will entail on Sunday night in Denver, but he welcomes being out on the field as much as possible.
“As players you want to play the whole game,” said Leftwich. “Everybody wants to play the whole game. They have been making the decisions and doing a good job. Whatever they come up with we will be fine with.”
Leftwich said that while this week’s preparation for the game includes game-planning and a regular season approach, it doesn’t mean you will see a lot of new wrinkles from the offense.
“It’s just being more focused on our opponent, not that we are adding special things,” said Leftwich. “You kind of have an idea of who you are playing instead of going out there and just winging it. We have a better idea of personnel. It’s good to have. You learn more about the opponent. During the regular season you study a team all week to get ready to play them. But the first few preseason games you wing it, it’s the opposite of what you do. To get this week in is a good thing.”
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Another quarterback who wants to play on Sunday, but doesn’t know if he will, is Ben Roethlisberger.
“I hope so, but honestly I don’t know,” said Roethlisberger. “I will if I can. We just don’t really know. We kind of take it every day, one day at a time and see what’s going to happen.”
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The 22nd Annual Gatorade/Steelers 5K Race, Fitness Walk and Kids’ Kickoff Run will be held on Saturday, September 4, at 9 a.m. at Heinz Field. The race is moving back to Labor Day weekend this year.
The race, which benefits the Art Rooney Scholarship Fund, is a competitive event sanctioned by USA Track and Field with a 3.1-mile level course on the North Side highlighted by a spectacular finish on the warning track in Heinz Field.
For more information click here or to register online click here.