With Antonio Brown now in Oakland, someone will have to pick up the catches, yards and touchdowns he produced in Pittsburgh for the offense to continue as it has. The Steelers are asking more from tight end Vance McDonald for one.
“It’s required; it’s definitely being asked, and I will embrace it,” McDonald said Tuesday, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Brown averaged 103 catches for 1,380 yards and nine touchdowns the past eight seasons, so the Steelers have their work cut out for them in trying to replace his numbers.
McDonald, though, said he and his teammates are up to the task.
McDonald, who has spent the past two seasons with the Steelers after a trade from San Francisco, set career highs last season with 50 receptions for 610 yards and tied his career high with four touchdowns. He was third in targets behind JuJu Smith-Schuster and Brown, seeing 72 passes intended for him.
“The things A.B. is capable of doing — he’s a freak; he’s so good,” McDonald said. “Ben [Roethlisberger] is the best quarterback who will allow us to take that piece that A.B. was given and now allow it to go through different avenues, whether it’s the tight ends or the receivers. It will take some part of the coaches, too. Obviously, you’re calling plays specifically for A.B. in the game. Now it might go to JuJu, [Donte] Moncrief, Eli [Rogers] or [Ryan Switzer] or me or the other tight ends. It will be fun and interesting to see how we can be creative and let that happen.”