WR coach Richard Mann discusses his wide receivers
Mann on his group of WRs
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Richard Mann, in his 2nd season as receivers coach, talks about the WRs as camp approaches
Richard Mann was hired by Mike Tomlin on Feb. 13, 2013 to bring an old-school, fundamental approach to coaching the Steelers wide receivers. With Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders having left as unrestricted free agents, the Steelers have undergone some turnover at the top of the depth chart, and therefore training camp will be a critical time for the development of the group.
Mann recently addressed a variety of issues pertaining to this group of wide receivers:
Q. Can you talk about what the addition of veteran Lance Moore means to this corps of receivers?
A. What he can do, and from what Iíve seen so far, he can probably fill the void that we had after losing Jerricho Cotchery. We have a couple of other guys we are looking at (in that role). We might have to jerry-rig a few things to get the blocking aspect of it, but as far as the passing game, I think we are going to be fine.
Q. What have you seen from Darrius Heyward-Bey (pictured above), who came into the league as a first-round draft pick?
A. What we are doing with him is just trying to get his confidence up. He has speed. He has talent. Weíll teach him what to do, and hopefully we can put him in a position to succeed with his speed and intelligence. We will take advantage of what he does best.
Q. What about Martavis Bryant, the fourth-round pick from Clemson?
A. Heís a big guy, different from what weíve had, as far as his length. We feel like we can utilize his talents in the red zone. He has a big reach. He has good speed. So we can use him in various ways, as far as cleaning things out. Heís also a deep threat. He does have the speed.
Q. Is Dri Archer showing the ability to be a multiple threat for this offense?
A. No question [he is]. We feel like he can be our ace in the hole, or the joker, since we can use him in various positions. We can move him around. We can utilize his running ability by lining him up as a running back, and he also has receiving skills. I think itís up to Coach Haley and the offensive staff to put him in places where he can succeed. I think heís going to be a weapon for us.
Q. What did you see from the receivers over the course of the entire offseason program?
A. That weíve come a long way, but we arenít where we need to be. What Iíve been telling my guys is that we are gearing it up for the Buffalo Bills. That will be our first test when we practice against them in training camp. That is when we will be able to see how far weíve come. That will be the key, to compete against some people we havenít gone against.
Q. How would you describe Markus Wheatonís progress?
A. I made a comment during OTAs that he was doing really well as a rookie last year until he hurt his finger against Minnesota (on Sept. 29). He kind of went downhill, but he came back in the end. He played hurt. He was still hurt. I think thatís a testament to what kind of guy he is. I think heís doing very well. I think heís going to compete, and I think he will end up helping us.
Q. What about second-year pro Derek Moye?
A. I think Derek has to play his way onto the team again. Thatís the way it is. He knows that. Heís a guy who has made steady improvement from the time I came here to the present. I think he has gotten better each practice. Each time heís on the field I think he gets better. He is a guy who has to play his way on, but he has a chance.
Q. Can you talk about the no-huddle offense?
A. We always work on it. We did quite a bit last year at the end of the season, and so if Coach Haley decides to do it and Coach Tomlin decides thatís what we want to do, then we will be ready to do it. We are gearing ourselves up to be able to go no-huddle at any time we choose to do it.
Q. What did you see from Antonio Brown during the offseason?
A. I think heís done a lot of things really well. He doesnít really look like the same guy. Heís made a transition. Heís very confident. Heís matured. He understands the concepts. Heís smoother. His body language is different. Heís just a different guy. Heís matured a lot.
Position preview: Wide receiver
July, 7, 2014
By Scott Brown | ESPN.com
This is the next in a series that looks at every position on offense and defense with training camp approaching. Our fourth look is at wide receiver.
Returning starter: Antonio Brown. There are breakout seasons. Then there is what Brown did in 2013 when there were questions about whether the Steelers had a No. 1 wide receiver following the free-agent loss of Mike Wallace. Brown set a Steelers single-season record with 1,499 receiving yards and his 110 catches were just three shy of establishing a team record in that category.
New faces: Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey. The Steelers signed Moore to a two-year, $3.5 million contract shortly after Jerricho Cotchery signed with the Carolina Panthers. They signed the speedy Heyward-Bey to a veteran minimum contract and he will have to win a spot on the 53-man roster.
On the bubble: Derek Moye. The former undrafted free agent played his way onto the roster last season but he had a hard time getting on the field. The 6-5, 210-pounder caught just two passes for 20 yards and a touchdown, and he will have to hold off Heyward-Bey and 2013 sixth-round pick Justin Brown, among others, to again stick with the Steelers.
By the numbers: Brown had 23 catches that were at least 20 yards last season – one more than Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Did you know: Danny Coale, who signed with Pittsburgh last January, is the son-in-law of former Steelers offensive lineman and color analyst for the team radio broadcasts Tunch Ilkin. Coale, a fifth-round draft pick by Dallas in 2012, has spent time on the Cowboys’ and Indianapolis Colts’ practice squads.
Quotable: “You can see a different level of confidence in the way they carry themselves. They are no longer rookies. They are no longer looking around at who to follow. They are coming out here and leading their group. I think that’s come from hard work. They didn’t get noticed during the season last year when they were on the practice squad or not getting a ton of reps in games, but everybody out here can see that they were working hard and were continuing to make plays and get better.” – offensive coordinator Todd Haley on second-year wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Brown.
Outlook: The Steelers had significant turnover at the position with the losses of Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders. They need Wheaton, a 2013 third-round pick, to emerge after a broken pinkie sabotaged most of his rookie season. Moore should prove to be a more than capable replacement for Cotchery and the wild card of the group is rookie Martavis Bryant. The fourth-round pick has an excellent blend of size and speed, and he could help the Steelers this season if he makes steady progress during training camp and preseason practice.