Being as Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Martavis Bryant will miss the entire 2016 season due to a suspension, the team will hope that second-year wide receiver Sammie Coates will be able to help the team’s offense absorb the loss. While Coates didn’t play a lot during his rookie season, the former third-round draft pick out of Auburn understands that his lack of overall conditioning probably played a role in that.
“I wasn’t in the greatest shape I wanted to be,” Coates admitted recently to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
Coates, who now apparently weighs roughly around 220-pounds, went on to tell Fowler that he’s doing his offseason training in Pittsburgh at the team’s facility and he certainly understands the opportunity that awaits him this year during training camp as head coach Mike Tomlin indicated last week that there will be an open competition for the No. 2 wide receiver spot opposite starter Antonio Brown this offseason.
“Coaches can tell you one thing, but you still have to work and show you can handle it,” Coates said. “It’s going to be a good task for me. Even though the door opened up the way it shouldn’t have with my teammate [Bryant], I have to step in and be accountable the way he would be.”
Coates had a coming out party of sorts during the Steelers Divisional Round playoff loss to the Denver Broncos as he caught two passes for 61 yards in that game as he helped fill in for Brown, who had to miss that game due to a concussion.
Being as Coates wasn’t asked to run the full route tree while at Auburn is likely another reason why his development last year didn’t happen as quickly as many would’ve liked. With that said, he figures to be more improved this year in that area of his game as he competes against the likes of fellow Steelers wide receivers Markus Wheaton and Darrius Heyward-Bey for increased playing time.
Even if Coates doesn’t win the No. 2 spot this year out of training camp, he still figures to have a prominent role in the Steelers offense being as they use so many personnel groups that include three wide receivers.
“You finished strong, you have to start strong this time,” Coates told Fowler. “I can’t come in slow. I have to come in fast and ready to go.”