Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Steelers should start Antonio Brown
By Jamison Hensley
There's news involving the Steelers wide receivers: Emmanuel Sanders is expected to miss "a couple of weeks" after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery (according to the team) but Hines Ward (concussion-like symptoms) is expected to return and not be limited this week in practice (according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review).
The move that the Steelers need to make now is putting Antonio Brown in the starting lineup alongside Mike Wallace. Ward, who started Sunday before taking the helmet-to-helmet hit from Ray Lewis, is clearly not a top option anymore for Ben Roethlisberger. Brown and Sanders are more dangerous threats at this point.
Brown, a 2010 sixth-round pick, is fast and elusive. He showed great hands in making difficult catches Sunday against the Ravens.
When Ward went down with a sprained ankle three games ago, Brown caught seven passes for 102 yards. When Ward went out Sunday with a stinger, Brown produced 109 yards on five receptions. He has proved that he can replace Ward and has earned the right to do so on a full-time basis.
The biggest difference between Brown and Ward is big-play ability. This season, Brown has seven catches of over 20 yards while Ward has one.
Ward is on pace for 52 catches and 516 yards, his lowest totals since 2000. It'll be interesting to see how the Steelers view Ward in the future with two young receivers pressing for playing time. Ward, 35, has two years left on his contract after this season (earning $4 million in 2012 and 2013).