The Pittsburgh Steelers will enter 2013 training camp with the services of Emmanuel Sanders following a surprising bidding war of sorts. This one must’ve smarted for Mike Wallace: Not only did the Steelers just to extend Antonio Brown instead of Wallace last offseason, but now they’ve matched the New England Patriots‘ offer for restricted free agent Sanders this offseason.
Now Sanders is back in black and gold following a season that saw him notch career-highs in receptions (44) and receiving yards (626). With speculation that Sanders will move into Wallace No. 2 receiver roll it will be interesting to see how that changes Sanders’ magnitude in the Steelers offense. Wallace trumped Sanders in snaps last season by 102 and the difference is more glaring near the goal line.
“Of the 740 offensive snaps that Sanders played in 2012; only 78 of them came when the Steelers had the ball inside their opponents 20 yard-line,” wrote Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot, noting that Wallace was targeted 18 times in the red zone while Sanders had only six of such targets last season.
It will be a big transition for the Steelers offense as it moves on from Wallace and ostensibly puts a huge amount more on the plate of Sanders. Ben Roethlisberger and the coaching staff will be leaning on him heading into the coming season as other new faces like rookie receiver Markus Wheaton get acclimated with the team.
“As I sit here today I feel good about the foundation we’ve laid for 2013,” Coach Mike Tomlin said during Steelers minicamp, via The Associated Press.