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Thread: 2019 Steelers by position: WR. Are we better off?

  1. #1

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    2019 Steelers by position: WR. Are we better off?

    2019 Steelers by position: WR


    Antonio Brown's departure, in terms of on-field production, significantly impacts Pittsburgh's offense heading into the 2019 season. While the soon-to-be 31-year-old Brown wasn't going to dominate opposing defenses forever, one can assume that Brown would have put up similar numbers to the ones he's put up in recent seasons had he stayed with the Steelers in 2019. While his receiving yards (1,297 in 15 games) in 2018 were his lowest output since 2016, he still caught 104 passes in 15 games while also leading the NFL with a career-high 15 touchdowns. That will be hard to replace, along with the attention Brown demanded from opposing defenses every time he stepped onto the field.

    The Steelers have countered the loss of Brown by doing their best to strengthen Pittsburgh's receiving corps. The team re-signed veteran wideout Eli Rogers, a tough, dependable secondary option that came on strong near the end of the 2018 season after missing most of the year rehabbing an ACL injury. Pittsburgh also signed veteran receiver Donte Moncrief, who caught 20 touchdown passes during his first five NFL seasons. The Steelers have also (unofficially) parted ways with veteran wideouts Justin Hunter and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Hunter never panned out after signing with the team as a free agent in 2017, while Heyward-Bey, despite being a tremendous team leader and locker room presence, could not be kept on the roster after catching just nine passes over the past three seasons.

    Ryan Switzer, a late 2018 offseason acquisition, will return after having a very solid first season in Pittsburgh. Despite joining the team just before the start of the regular season, Switzer caught 36 of his 44 targets while serving as a dependable option in the slot position. Switzer should be even more productive in 2019 as he looks to build on his rapport with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

    The Steelers further strengthened their depth at the receiver position by drafting former Toledo wideout Diontae Johnson with the 66th overall pick in the Draft. The 10th receiver taken in the draft, Johnson caught 21 touchdown passes during his final two years with the Rockets. Pittsburgh's receivers coach, Darryl Drake, recently compared him to a young Brown when Brown was coming out of Central Michigan back in 2010.

    "As far as a player, yes, no question," Drake said last week when asked about Johnson being similar to Brown. "(Johnson) did an outstanding job at Toledo, not only as a wide receiver but in multi-positions, special teams as a returner. Just a tremendously gifted young man. The most natural catcher that I've seen in a while.

    "You need a guy who can get off the ball, and the thing that he does he gets off the ball, gets in and out of his breaks as well as anybody that I've seen in a long time," Drake continued. "He was a guy that I wanted, and I just appreciate Kevin and Mike seeing the same things that I saw in this young man. As you get to be around him, you're going to love his smile and his personality and his style of play. So, again, very excited about the pick. I think he's a guy that Steeler Nation is going to be very, very excited about."

    While Johnson looks to make an immediate impact, James Washington, Pittsburgh's second round pick in 2018, is looking to bounce back after catching just 16 passes during his rookie season. Earlier this offseason, he told's Missi Matthews that he will spent his offseason looking on improving his route running and his conditioning.

    Washington started showing glimpses of his potential against the Patriots in Week 15. With New England paying extra attention to Brown and team MVP JuJu Smith-Schuster, Washington led Pittsburgh with 65 receiving yards while catching three of his four targets in the Steelers 17-10 victory. Two weeks later, with the Steelers needing a victory to keep their playoff hopes alive, Washington caught all three of his targets for 64 yards that included a key 47-yard catch during Pittsburgh's comeback victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

    Speaking of JuJu, he will now be Pittsburgh's No. 1 receiver moving forward. Smith-Schuster, at times, was the team's No. 1 receiver in 2018. Last season, JuJu led the Steelers with 111 receptions and 1,426 receiving yards. And while he will no longer have the luxury of having Brown on the other side, Pittsburgh's depth at the position should give Smith-Schuster enough room to flourish as the team's premier receiver.

    Simply put, you can't replace what Brown provided. Not with one player. Give the Steelers credit for not trying. Instead of trying to sign another Pro Bowl receiver or spending a first or second round pick on the position, Pittsburgh instead decided to complement Smith-Schuster with both proven veterans as well as young, promising wideouts that should help make Pittsburgh's passing attack even more lethal than it was in 2018, when Big Ben led the NFL with 5,129 passing yards.

    The Steelers' receiving room, even with the loss of Brown, is better now than it was in 2018. While they no longer have the best WR duo in football, Pittsburgh has the potential to have the deepest and most productive receiving corps in the NFL. And when factoring the culture change the will take place with Brown no longer in the picture, the Steelers' WR position is better off now than it was a year ago.

  2. #2

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    Donte Moncrief fired up to be a Steeler


    Donte Moncrief is excited to be in Pittsburgh, his third NFL city since coming into the league in 2014. Moncrief, who has been a regular at the team's facility since singing with the Steelers, recently expressed his excitement with regard to being a member of the black and gold.

    Moncrief's father, a lifelong Steelers fan, wanted his son to play well when his teams previously faced off against the Steelers. He just didn't want his son's teams to win. Last month, Moncrief explained his father's lifelong passion for the black and gold.

    "Heís always been a Steelers fan," Moncrief said of his father. "He liked Hines Ward and Jerome Bettis and all those guys. Itís crazy. Four weeks before I even signed he told me I was coming here. So when I got the call and they told me it was Pittsburgh and my agent told me what itís gonna be, I knew he was gonna be like, ĎI told you so.í When it happened, I was happy.Ē

    How did his father react to the news that he was joining his favorite team?

    ďMy dad was happy," Moncrief said. "Super happy. Even when I was in Indy and we were playing the Steelers, he said heíll root for me, but he still wanted the Steelers to win. Now Iím Steeler now, so now weíre gonna get on the same boat."

    Moncrief, who caught his first NFL touchdown pass against Pittsburgh, met with the Steelers before being taken by the Colts as the 90th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Playing with Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck, Moncrief caught 152 passes for 1,875 yards and 18 touchdown passes during his four seasons with the Colts. He caught 48 passes for 668 yards and three scores during his lone season with the Jaguars.

    Along with providing Ben Roethlisberger with a new big play threat, Moncrief also said that he is looking forward to serving as a mentor for Pittsburgh's young receiving corps. With Antonio Brown, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Justin Hunter no longer on the roster, Moncrief and Eli Rogers are the team's oldest receivers entering the 2019 season. Moncrief, who said that former Colts' great Reggie Wayne helped acclimate him to the NFL as a rookie, wants to do the same for the Steelers' receiving room.

    ďItís kinda weird just being 25 and youíre the oldest guy in the room," he said. "Just thinking about that. Like I said, Iíll guess Iíll have to be the mentor guy, the guy that pushes guys and makes sure people do things right. Like coach already said, itís a great room. You have guys like JuJu Smith-Schuster whose doing things that a lot of young guys canít do. You have a lot of other guys thatís hard working, young guys who are gonna keep me young and push me and motivate me and make me go fast every day. Itís going to be a fun room, fun time, and Iím getting ready to get with those guys and show them what I can do.Ē

  3. #3

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    No, we are not better off.
    (But I do like our WR corps)

    Next question....
    Tomlin: Let's unleash hell and "mop the floor" with the competition.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelz09 View Post
    No, we are not better off.
    (But I do like our WR corps)

    Next question....
    Lol way to entice more discussion

    Molon labe

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  5. #5

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    Statistical wise we are not better off(no brainer)
    Team wise we got rid of a stat whore with 0 rings to show for it.
    next question....
    I wish people would/could leave politics out of a Steelers Football Forum.

  6. #6

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    Luckily for those who want to move onto the next question, there are 27,471 other threads to choose from. Feel free to comment on any of them.
    Steeler teams featuring stat-driven, me-first, fantasy-football-darling diva types such as Antonio Brown & Le'Veon Bell won no championships.

    Super Bowl winning Steeler teams were built around a dynamic, in-your-face defense plus blue-collar, hard-hitting, no-nonsense football players on offense such as Hines Ward & Jerome Bettis.

    We don't want Juju & Conner to replace what we lost in Brown & Bell.

    We are counting on Juju & Conner to return us to the glory we once had with Hines & The Bus.

  7. #7
    Pro Bowler

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    Overall, "I like it alot!"

    Depth seems better 1-6. It is going to be an interesting position battles in camp.

    All though we lost AB... who "WAS" a legned here... should be better off.

    JuJu is coming in on his own. Moncief, proved he can be a game changer with a great QB. Washington has potential, year 2 leap. Same can be said of that rookie. who has shown playmaker abiity. Add in 2nd year Switzer, and Eli have shown they can bring it.

    It is not like last year where after AB, and JU, there was a huge drop off. Washington played like a rookie, Switzer was playing catch up. Eli was hurt.
    ďIím so tired of LeíVeon," DeCastro told reporters (h/t ESPN's Jeremy Fowler ([url][/url])) after Sunday's game. "Iím so tired of it. Letís just worry about the guys in here. I know you guys have stories to write and what not. I love LeíVeon, but we gotta worry about the guys in here. Theyíre the only people that matter to me."

  8. #8
    Hall of Famer

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    We are most certainly far better off now than we were in week 16 of the 2018 season when idiot went completely off the rails. That was the Antonio Brown we were left with.

  9. #9

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    As a whole group, we are better off. And less predictable because now Ben is just going to throw to the open man. Not having to force feed a guy because he wants 15 targets a game.
    From the 2010-2019 season, (A 9 year period that the majority of Cowher's players & coaches had left) Mike Tomlin has only won 3 playoff games. And two of those wins were against back up Quarterbacks.
    Dolphin fans in the 90ís who wanted to hold on to Don Shula for what he did in the 70ís...

    Are the same as Steeler fans (of 2020 ) holding on to Tomlin for what he did in 2008.


  10. #10

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    The question is premature. "If" Washington (who largely struggled as a rookie) and Johnson live up to expectations we are undoubtedly better overall.
    The depth would be great and more than make up for the loss of Brown
    If the early part of year one was indicative of who Washington is as a pro, and we missed on Johnson too, we are worse.

    If either is better than a very solid Moncrief, I'd say that and the addition of Moncrief makes us about the same because we still are deeper but I really dont expect either kid to be equal to Brown because that is rare stuff.

    But that brings to mind, has Brown begun his inevitable decline?

    His early season struggles werent just the emergence of Juju........his game (consistency) was not what it was in years past.

    Yes, lots of variables.


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