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Mike Tomlin looks forward to “significant step” from Markus Wheaton

23bc50bf25ffee511e8836cda18d6400 Getty Images

The Steelers have lost Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery in free agency, leaving the team with 113 catches to replace from last season’s offense.

The draft will likely bring some potential contributors in the passing game and Pittsburgh has signed Lance Moore and Darrius Heyward-Bey, but the Steelers will also be looking to one of last year’s draft choices to help fill the void. Markus Wheaton played 11 games after being selected in the third round, but caught just six passes and struggled with a broken finger. Wheaton had surgery to repair the injury after the season and coach Mike Tomlin said the team is looking for more from Wheaton in his second season.

“It’s tough to play wide receiver with broken fingers,” Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I look forward to him taking a significant step for us. I know that we need him to.”

Antonio Brown and Heath Miller are the only real knowns as targets for Ben Roethlisberger at the moment, so the Steelers will need someone to step up to round out their passing attack. Wheaton has the most upside of any in-house contenders for the role, but potential will have to turn into results for Pittsburgh’s offense to thrive.

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63 Responses to “Mike Tomlin looks forward to “significant step” from Markus Wheaton”
  1. Steeley McBeam says: Apr 6, 2014 3:10 PM

    THIS is someone you expect to make strides. Not a 31 year old second string TE coming off 3 major injuries like our friends in Bmore.

  2. bigbabies says: Apr 6, 2014 3:12 PM

    As a Steelers fan, I look forward to it also.

  3. citizenstrange says: Apr 6, 2014 3:22 PM

    Let’s just hope he doesn’t take the kind of “step” Tomlin is famous for.

  4. avbanig33 says: Apr 6, 2014 3:23 PM

    As long as wh

  5. nygmann says: Apr 6, 2014 3:24 PM

    That’s the why NFL Free Agency works..next up… next up Markus Wheaton.

  6. avbanig33 says: Apr 6, 2014 3:27 PM

    As long as he runs the correct routes – he should be as productive as sanders was last year and moore can replace Cotchery’s production. Then, Hey-Bey can be #4 and be a situational deep threat.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steelers took a WR in the first three rounds though – preferably Mike Evans, Brandon Cooks or Marquise Lee.

  7. jrob23 says: Apr 6, 2014 3:35 PM

    The WR corp actually looks stronger with this group than last year. Also, the draft should net a WR too, maybe in the first if the right guy falls to them. But I look for CB or LT to be taken. Both are needed more.

  8. aunkabeatmon says: Apr 6, 2014 3:35 PM

    The last guy I saw stepping up for the Steelers was Mike Tomlin stepping himself in the way a of another Jacoby Jones touchdown return at the bank. Another “significant step” that “obviously” didn’t help his team win the game that night.

  9. Stiller43 says: Apr 6, 2014 3:35 PM

    Well, it would be hard to not take a significant jump over 6 catches…

  10. bobzilla1001 says: Apr 6, 2014 3:46 PM

    Already the Pittsburgh sports media are predicting the second-coming of “The Greatest Show on Turf.” Both Ron Cook and Jory Rand have went on record, vowing that the 2014 Steelers will have a “high-powered, high-scoring offense,” as long as “Roethlisberger stays healthy.”
    They might be right.
    But the local media predicting great things for the Steelers’ offenses have been going on for several seasons now. And even though the media have always been wrong, they always pretend they were right.
    Pretending is fun, and that way no one needs to be held accountable. But just let the defense tumble from No. 1 to No. 14, all hell breaks loose. They all want heads to roll.

  11. stuckthefeelers says: Apr 6, 2014 3:54 PM

    And if he doesn’t, Tomlin will just trip the corners covering him. No mention of the ravens in this article but jealous steeler fans love brining them up anyway.

  12. usedtobeasteelersfan says: Apr 6, 2014 3:55 PM

    Hysterical

  13. loyalraven says: Apr 6, 2014 4:05 PM

    Steeley McBeam says:
    Apr 6, 2014 3:10 PM
    THIS is someone you expect to make strides. Not a 31 year old second string TE coming off 3 major injuries like our friends in Bmore.
    ———————————————————-

    I think you meant to reference your 32 year old injury riddled TE (coming off reconstructive knee surgery) that your team just gave a $14 million dollar contract extension to..

    Overpay for age the Steeler Way!

  14. bigmayhem1 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:25 PM

    Steeley McBeam says:
    Apr 6, 2014 3:10 PM
    THIS is someone you expect to make strides. Not a 31 year old second string TE coming off 3 major injuries like our friends in Bmore.
    _____________

    Yeah. A guy who’s shown nothing compared to a proven vet that just turned 31 (How old is Miller??). LOL

  15. grimreaper12 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:26 PM

    Steelers develop their WR’s. Just look at Antonio Brown and Sanders. Wheaton will have a solid season.
    People hate on Big Ben, but at least he throws more td’s then interceptions.

  16. ncphinsfan says: Apr 6, 2014 4:28 PM

    He better take a step up, who else can Ben throw it to? Miller is inches from a wheelchair, Lance Moore can’t catch a ball outside and especially in the cold, DHB can’t catch indoors or outdoors. I doubt the Steelers get Mike Evans unless you Trade your whole Draft to move up. He will be long gone and M.Lee might be gone as well.

  17. Smash-Mouth.com says: Apr 6, 2014 4:36 PM

    I thought Wheaton should have been featured more prominently last year before he got injured. The catch totals are somewhat misleading as he was rarely on the field during those eleven games he appeared in.

    That said, it seems pretty clear that he’ll be given a much larger role in the offense this season and I suspect he’ll step up to the plate. He’s a very talented wide receiver.

  18. jtbsteeler says: Apr 6, 2014 4:41 PM

    Joe Flacco will put a WR in the poor house.

  19. nickster31 says: Apr 6, 2014 4:51 PM

    Wheaton was drafted to replace Sanders, and that is what will happen.

    I would rather have an unknown 2 nd year player than a known player that is average and certain to drop the ball in key situations.

  20. doctorrustbelt says: Apr 6, 2014 4:54 PM

    … and… if markus wheaton doesn’t make that significant step… mike tomlin will step onto the playing field to significantly interrupt opposing players as they run down the sidelines.

  21. blackngold4life says: Apr 6, 2014 5:04 PM

    As expected

  22. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 5:12 PM

    The last guy I saw stepping up for the Steelers was Mike Tomlin stepping himself in the way a of another Jacoby Jones touchdown return at the bank. Another “significant step” that “obviously” didn’t help his team win the game that night.

    Tomlins step is still something for raven trolls to whine about after all this time. Not much of a life eh, should be
    More concerned about one punch Ray Tice the wife beater.

    I would stick with the steelers history of developing wideouts
    Over the rat turds any day skippy,

  23. blackngold4life says: Apr 6, 2014 5:23 PM

    All these Tomlin Step jokes are super corny…took alot of thought I bet

  24. olcap says: Apr 6, 2014 5:31 PM

    Mike took a significant step onto the field, interfering with a play in progress in that Raven game when he got fined $1ooK.

  25. bigsowce says: Apr 6, 2014 6:02 PM

    Mike Tomlin took a significant step onto the field during a run back by Jacoby Jones. Feeling guilty Mike?

  26. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 6:06 PM

    Mike took a significant step onto the field, interfering with a play in progress in that Raven game when he got fined $1o

    You are entitled to have your opinion, but hopefully you’ll stop whining about it before next season. The refs didn’t flag him and had you raven cry babies not whined so much it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but Napa valley east likes their wine, sad

  27. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 6:20 PM

    Mike Tomlin took a significant step onto the field during a run back by Jacoby Jones. Feeling guilty Mike?

    So if Tomlin’s step was significant what do you call Ray’s punch? Ethics are not a Raven quality. Please

  28. Eutaw's Finest says: Apr 6, 2014 7:30 PM

    @NoFool

    I’m not one to keep pressing the whole Tomlin incident but I will say this- I don’t expect Ravens fans to let it go until Steelers fans and that nut job Rusty to squash the Flacco $120M and finally admit the truth that he’s only due $14.5M in each of the next 2 years then upon his release in 2016 if he doesn’t extend will only cost Baltimore $3M. Those are facts. If you want Ravens fans to stop throwing The Tomlin incident out there without facts but your comrades always ignore the Flacco facts when bashing him? I’d say that’s quite hypocritical.

  29. pittsburgh361 says: Apr 6, 2014 7:38 PM

    Miller got cut by 2 bengal player’s while your boy pitta got hurt in practice. All these ratbird trolls on here are pathetic. Still just remember who was in 2nd and who was in 3rd. Good thing you signed that bum forsett to take upper cut rays place. I mean obviously we gave you guys a chance to sign blount but o well we got him. Good luck trying to stop that 2 headed monster with bell & blount.

  30. bengalguy says: Apr 6, 2014 7:44 PM

    Can he play QB?

  31. olcap says: Apr 6, 2014 7:47 PM

    Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 6:06 PM

    Mike took a significant step onto the field, interfering with a play in progress in that Raven game when he got fined $1o

    You are entitled to have your opinion, but hopefully you’ll stop whining about it before next season. The refs didn’t flag him and had you raven cry babies not whined so much it wouldn’t have been a big deal, but Napa valley east likes their wine, sad
    ———————————–

    One, I’m not a Raven fan.

    Two, I don’t consider reminding everyone of the Stealer coach and his “sportsmanship”, whining. You’ll deal with that shame for a long time son.

  32. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 7:59 PM

    Two, I don’t consider reminding everyone of the Stealer coach and his “sportsmanship”, whining. You’ll deal with that shame for a long time son.

    First of all skippy I am old enough and wise enough to be your grandpa so show some respect if you know what it is. Shame hardy for an honest non game changing event that haters blow out of proportion. Garbage did the field rush in a SF game but no out cry so sash your hate makes you look very small.

  33. juststeel says: Apr 6, 2014 8:04 PM

    If Benjamin is available I hope they take him, flat out stud

  34. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 8:07 PM

    Harbaugh made a field rush that is so hush up your hate skippy.

  35. Matt dog from C-town says: Apr 6, 2014 8:14 PM

    ,He could do well as Steelers drop to the bottom of the division

  36. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 8:14 PM

    I’m not one to keep pressing the whole Tomlin incident but I will say this- I don’t expect Ravens fans to let it go until Steelers fans and that nut job Rusty to squash the Flacco $120M and finally admit the truth that he’s only due $14.5M in each of the next 2 years then upon his release in 2016 if he doesn’t extend will only cost Baltimore $3M. Those are facts. If you want Ravens fans to stop throwing The Tomlin incident out there without facts but your comrades always ignore the Flacco facts when bashing him? I’d say that’s quite hypocritical.
    Hypocritical is Raven’s handling of one punch Ray, but that is the Raven way.

  37. justjabari says: Apr 6, 2014 8:21 PM

    citizenstrange says:
    Apr 6, 2014 3:22 PM
    Let’s just hope he doesn’t take the kind of “step” Tomlin is famous for.
    —————————-
    These jokes are getting SO old. It’s like that annoying kid at birthday parties starving for attention unable to recognize social situations. Move on…holy smokes

  38. olcap says: Apr 6, 2014 8:29 PM

    Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 8:14 PM

    I’m not one to keep pressing the whole Tomlin incident but I will say this- I don’t expect Ravens fans to let it go until Steelers fans and that nut job Rusty to squash the Flacco $120M and finally admit the truth that he’s only due $14.5M in each of the next 2 years then upon his release in 2016 if he doesn’t extend will only cost Baltimore $3M. Those are facts. If you want Ravens fans to stop throwing The Tomlin incident out there without facts but your comrades always ignore the Flacco facts when bashing him? I’d say that’s quite hypocritical.
    Hypocritical is Raven’s handling of one punch Ray, but that is the Raven way.
    ——————

    Again SON, I am not a Raven fan.

    If you could look back at all of my postings over the last 6-7 years, you would understand that I am a fan of pro football, and have never led cheer for any team in this forum.

    I do not like cheating. The video I saw of that play left me with zero doubt.

    I will always criticize two teams. NE and Pitt. Always.

  39. pittsburgh361 says: Apr 6, 2014 8:49 PM

    Who is your team olcap?

  40. Nofoolnodrool says: Apr 6, 2014 8:49 PM

    I will always criticize two teams. NE and Pitt. Always.

    So skippy you can’t stand success which means you are jealous. I guess you hate the Yankees Celtics Lakers also. Whose is a cheer leader? It is very easy and safe to hindsight everything but not very intelligent or creative. But if it makes you happy hate await. Sounds like you need a snickers and a hug, but not from me.

  41. steelcurtainn says: Apr 6, 2014 8:56 PM

    Markus Wheaton will be a better version of Emmanuel Sanders but with less drops.

  42. raiderapologist says: Apr 6, 2014 9:04 PM

    More “straight fire” from Tomlin.

  43. getyourownname says: Apr 6, 2014 9:46 PM

    Why do Steeler fans keep bringing up the Rice incident while they pretend that Harrison did not do the same thing while he was a Steeler and the Steelers and their fans welcomed him back with open arms?

    Goggle “James Harrison hits girlfriend”

  44. buzzbeaubank says: Apr 6, 2014 9:53 PM

    Steeley McBeam says:
    Apr 6, 2014 3:10 PM
    THIS is someone you expect to make strides. Not a 31 year old second string TE coming off 3 major injuries like our friends in Bmore.
    ———-
    A more reasonable comparison would be to Marlon Brown, but it seems the only spin Steeler fans have this spring is to pounce all over Ozzie’s depth moves and ignore everything else. Find me anyone outside Pittsburgh that would take your top 4 over Smith, Smith, Brown, and Pitta.

  45. clashpoint says: Apr 6, 2014 10:13 PM

    So many people here don’t even seem to like talking about football.

    Wheaton had an excellent training camp and would have gotten a lot more playing time had he not been injured. Cotchery took that opportunity and ran with it though, and the Steelers really don’t play many 4 wr sets. Wheaton has all the skills needed, and by all accounts, a good work ethic. I’m looking forward to seeing him play this year.

  46. mr4thand1 says: Apr 6, 2014 11:26 PM

    Go Steelers!

  47. diegosteel says: Apr 6, 2014 11:28 PM

    loyalraven-

    Ahh a 35 year old WR that’s 5’9″ish? Steve Smith, really valuable? notice his old team that really needed a WR and sign a slightly youger WR in Cotchery,but let Steven smith walk???? really great signing

  48. iamdinguskhan says: Apr 7, 2014 4:38 AM

    You gotta love the Ravens and Steelers rivalry! Like the Seahawks and 49ers a lot of trash talking and intense games. These rivalries have made the NFL great and fun to watch! Keep at it Ravens and Steelers fans!

  49. pittsburgh361 says: Apr 7, 2014 7:57 AM

    Ab compared to torrey smith really ab all day, 35 yr old steve smith injured all the time lately ill take 31 moore, Marlon brown not enough to show yet as for pitta really you think hes better than miller? Then you can go break it down ben is by far better than flacco. Bell better than rice, blount better than pierce. Ill take our oline which only gave up 38 or 40 sacks to bmore 48. Kickers wash although your kicker has to win more games for your team.

  50. Eutaw's Finest says: Apr 7, 2014 9:45 AM

    pittsburgh361 says:
    Apr 7, 2014 7:57 AM
    Ab compared to torrey smith really ab all day, 35 yr old steve smith injured all the time lately ill take 31 moore, Marlon brown not enough to show yet as for pitta really you think hes better than miller? Then you can go break it down ben is by far better than flacco. Bell better than rice, blount better than pierce. Ill take our oline which only gave up 38 or 40 sacks to bmore 48. Kickers wash although your kicker has to win more games for your team.
    ____________________________
    Homer syndrome has befallen you son…

    Torrey Smith career (3 years): 2,824 yds, 19 TDs
    Antonio Brown career (4 years): 3,561 yds, 15 TDs

    So essentially Torrey would have to to hit roughly 700 yds this year and not score a single TD and he’d STILL have a better 4 year spell that AB.

    And Steve Smith “injured all the time?” He missed 1 game in 2013. None the previous 2 years. Actually he’s played 14+ games every year in his career except 2005. So there’s that.

    And Marlon Brown may have not shown much but Wheaton has shown less. Brown had 524 yds and 7 TDs last year. As an undrafted rookie. Wheaton had a finger injury. Aw.

    TE’s- Miller may have a better career to date, but you’re comparing Miller with 9 years in the NFL against a younger Pitta with 1 year as a backup, 2 years in full service, and missed all but 3 games last year. Even so Pitta in 3 games last year had as many TD’s (1) as Miller had in 14 games. Telling.

    And you’re RB comparison is a joke. You compared a rookie in Bell to 3 time pro bowl RB Rice. Rice played with a hip flexor injury all of 2013 behind an abysmal OL. While I’ll concede Bell had a better year in 2013, he’s in no way BETTER than Rice. Which brings me to the OL- the Ravens actually revamped theirs- Monroe long term, KO will play in 2014 (injured for 2013), Zuttah upgraded our center and RT is the last to fill. Pitt has done nothing to improve the OL.

    Make sure you take off those blinders before making bold statements and like I tell the rest of your boys, BRING SOME STATS TO THE TABLE NEXT TIME! Cheers!

  51. enoughofthatalready says: Apr 7, 2014 1:07 PM

    (1) I have a friend that works for NFL Films who was at the B-More game last year and Tomlin was walking to that spot before the kicker even kicked the ball. So…if it was intentional, he knew before the ball was kicked. Plus, the Steelers players were ribbing him bad after the incident and that is what produced the grin that the crybabies plastered all over the jumbo-tron about 15 times that night.
    (2) Everyone knows that the Ravens were molded after their exodus from Baltimore to emulate the Steelers in their tough defensive style and ball control offense which helped the Ravens win their 1st Super Bowl as the Ravens. In essence, the Ravens (Browns 1.0) are the little brother to the Steelers.
    (3) Kelvin Benjamin from Florida State….6’5″ 240 lbs WR in 1st Round if Jets do not trade up first.

  52. pittsburgh361 says: Apr 7, 2014 1:09 PM

    We have a stat guy. Only wr in history to have 5 rec and 50 yrds a game for entire sason. Check Antonio
    steve smith got cut by a team with no wide outs? Strike number 2
    marlon brown production due to pitta not being there check.
    Miller vs pitta no contest.
    As for rice and pierce lowest 3.1 per carry in the league. I dont want to hear about lame injuries apart of the game. Your team just cant over come them like Pittsburgh can and blame ever miss hap due to injuries. Monroe is a bum if he was as good as he is portrayed there would of been a market for him and there wasnt. Zuttah great 6th rd pick up must be something there to that. All and all we signed 7 players for a lil over 8 mil guaranteed filled depth everywhere. Just face it the ratbirds suck

  53. pittsburgh361 says: Apr 7, 2014 1:13 PM

    Im calling it now
    pittsburgh 10-6
    Cincinnati 10-6
    cleveland 8-8
    Baltimore 5-11

  54. enoughofthatalready says: Apr 7, 2014 1:17 PM

    Goggle “James Harrison hits girlfriend”
    -
    Last time I checked, Harrison did not knock out his girlfriend in a public casino on camera and then drag her out of an elevator again on camera like he was trying to hide the body. Sure they both are dbags but let’s not compare apples to oranges.

  55. enoughofthatalready says: Apr 7, 2014 1:22 PM

    pittsburgh 10-6
    Cincinnati 10-6
    cleveland 8-8
    Baltimore 5-11
    -
    I don’t know about that……….Baltimore is not going to lose 11 games and I am a Steelers fan saying that. I would be surprised if the Steelers could push 10 wins this year. This draft is probably the most important draft in Steelers recent history. If they do not produce a capable starting WR, DL and CB from this draft, 8-8 is another possibility.

  56. pittsburgh361 says: Apr 7, 2014 1:30 PM

    Torrey mith 65 rec 1128 yrds 4 tds
    Antonio brown 110 rec 499 yrds 8 tds
    Hmmm I think I know whos better. Ravens fans crack me up.

  57. eddiek77 says: Apr 7, 2014 2:07 PM

    It’s funny that a jock-sniffer of a journalist like Ron Cook would find his name being mentioned here in a positive light. Here’s a guy who will never be critical of a local athlete. Hell, they may never say hello to him anymore. I’ll always take anything he says with a few pounds of salt.
    That said, I’ll take the Steelers receiver corps over the Ravens’ any day. A kick returner, malcontent and nobody just can’t compare with AB, Moore and Wheaton. I’m even of the belief that Heyward-Bey is going to excel here.

  58. maxstotalbases says: Apr 7, 2014 2:08 PM

    I see the standings this year to be as follows:

    Pittsburgh 10-6
    Cincinnati 9-7
    Baltimore 8-8
    Cleveland 6-10

    This all of course depends on the draft a bit, but the Steelers have done exceptionally well picking up players via free agency to fill the holes needed, and come June 2nd will continue to fill the roster with quality backups. They need a LT, CB, and one more WR in the draft. Wheaton will be fine, he was drafted to replace Sanders as they knew they were going to lose him. I could be wrong about the 10-6 but can’t see anything lower than 9-7 for them.

  59. enoughofthatalready says: Apr 7, 2014 3:27 PM

    It is the 40th Anniversary of the greatest draft in NFL history. Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth and Mike Webster (1974). Steelers could use another draft like that one.

  60. Future HOF 20xx says: Apr 7, 2014 6:28 PM

    “That said, I’ll take the Steelers receiver corps over the Ravens’ any day. A kick returner, malcontent and nobody just can’t compare with AB, Moore and Wheaton. I’m even of the belief that Heyward-Bey is going to excel here.”

    Look up Homer in the urban dictionary and you will get this. Wow.

  61. mingo49 says: Apr 7, 2014 8:44 PM

    A broken finger on a WR?

    I’ve broken several fingers several times, and they’re never the same. That’s a huge deal when you’re playing WR

  62. matteyghoukis says: Apr 7, 2014 11:37 PM

    We need Defense in the first Rd. I actually wouldn’t mind Defense in every Rd. but seeing that it’s inevitable we should get a big receiver for Ben…

  63. tombstoned says: Apr 8, 2014 6:45 PM

    Now if only Todd Haley and Bathroom Ben can put together and execute a game plan worthy of all this talent. 8 and 8 here we come!…. Again.

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