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Wide Receiver Depth Could Save The Steelers Super Bowl Chances

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The Depth At The Wide Receiver Position Could Save The Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl Chances.

In the offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers knew that their wide receiver depth would be challenged when they found out that Martavis Bryant would be suspended for the entire season. But Mike Tomlin has always been a believer in “next man up” and his team has shown strong belief in that. The use of practice squad guys and backups has helped the Steelers reach the Divisional Round of the AFC playoffs.

Over the course of Ben Roethlisberger‘s career, he has seen more than a handful of different receivers come and go in the Steelers uniform. This season alone, Roethlisberger has completed multiple passes to 15 different players. Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell led the team in receptions, as would be expected since they are the two go-to guys. But the wealth gets spread around as the Steelers have gotten creative with the ball. Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley has been firing on all cylinders, especially during the eight game winning streak.

I told the group, just because A.B., Le’Veon, Pouncey and Ben are there, it doesn’t mean it’s just going to happen. We have to go out and execute and play our best game. I don’t feel like we have done that yet. That has been kind of our thing, just trying to play to our potential. We have done it in spurts. The teams that get hot and play their best football, are the teams that have a legitimate shot of continuing to play now, and we need to be one of those teams.”

In training camp and during the preseason, Eli Rogers was fighting for a roster position. But as the season has progressed, he has found himself in the starting role opposite of Antonio Brown. He finished the season with 48 receptions, 594 yards, and three touchdowns. In comparison, he had only two less receptions than Martavis Bryant did in the 2015 season.

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Former practice squad wide receiver Cobi Hamilton has been a nice surprise for the Steelers as well. Hamilton has been on six different rosters in just four season in the NFL, including being on the Carolina Panthers roster during the time of their Super Bowl loss last season. He finished the season with 17 receptions, 234 yards, and two touchdowns. His biggest reception of the season was in week 17 on the final play of the season, as Landry Jones connected with him on an overtime touchdown that extended the Steelers win streak to seven.

The latest practice squad player to make a name for himself is a rookie out of the University of Houston, Demarcus Ayers. He only played the final two games of the season, as he got the call up in week 16. In those two games, he had 6 receptions, 53 yards, and a touchdown. He made his name known last week in the Wild Card round against the Miami Dolphins, as he made two receptions in a drive that led to a Le’Veon Bell touchdown.

My whole mindset has been I don’t care if I get five reps on special teams or five run plays and I go block. I wanted to show them what I could do. I just wanted to be part of the 53-man roster and help in any form or fashion when I could. I’m just excited that I was able to have an impact. My teammates took notice and trusted me. Now I’m just going to do whatever I can to help us win a Super Bowl. It’s not about the stats”

As the years go by, and new young receivers continue to find their way onto the football field, Ben Roethlisberger will find a way to get them the ball. As the Steelers head to Kansas City for their Divisional Round matchup against the Chiefs, Todd Haley hopes that his young receivers will make the most of their moment.

Statistics and quotes referenced via Pittsburgh Steelers Media Guide