There’s Antonio Brown. And then there’s everyone else.
Or more accurately, no one else.
Through the first eight weeks, there has yet to be a true #2 receiver step up opposite AB.
After Brown’s 55 catches, no wide receiver has more than Sammie Coates’ 20. And it’s one of the biggest reasons why the Steelers’ normally high-powered offense currently has the ferocity of a goose feather pillow.
“I think it’s important that we get consistent contributions from guys not named Antonio Brown.I think if you look at it, that may be one of the reasons we didn’t perform as well as we would’ve liked last Sunday.”
I hope you were sitting down for that earth-shattering announcement.
But as Tomlin pointed out, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Sammie Coates, and Cobi Hamilton all combined for zero catches. Eli Rogers had six but didn’t get heavily involved until late in the game. Jesse James was a non-factor, leaving Le’Veon Bell as the next best passing threat against the Ravens.
Brown was swarmed all day and his impact was minimized until the late stages of the game. He’s still on pace for a remarkable year, and could set a career high in touchdowns, but his receptions and yards could be at their lowest since 2012, the year before he made the jump to being an elite receiver.
“You can’t allow people to do some of the things they’ve been allowed to do against Antonio without repercussions. When we’re functioning well, it’s because those potential other guys are producing plays. It might not be a high volume number of plays but it’s significant plays Whether it’s a significant possession down, a field flipping play, or a touchdown.”
There is hope the return of Ladarius Green could at least take some of the attention away from Brown, even if he doesn’t become the team’s #2 receiver. Green is a major threat down the seams, making it harder for teams to play two deep – a common way they’re taking Brown away – and opening up things for him on the outside.
Still, everyone else needs to put their hand in the pile.Rogers play at a consistent level. Coates create chunk moments. If that doesn’t happen, the Steelers’ offense won’t reach their ceiling.