The Pittsburgh Steelers will be without their No. 2 wide receiver for the season opener against the Washington Redskins Monday night.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette, wideout Markus Wheaton did not practice Saturday and will be held out of Monday’s game. Wheaton is dealing with a shoulder injury.
Many were expecting Wheaton to provide another threat opposite Antonio Brown, but Wheaton’s career hasn’t lived up to the hype. He caught only 44 passes for 749 yards and 5 touchdowns last season, a decent, but not outstanding campaign.
Sammie Coates will likely get the first crack at the starting job in Wheaton’s absence. The 2015 third-round pick out of Auburn caught one pass during his rookie season. Veteran Darrius Heyward-Bey also could factor in the mix.
The most exciting prospect could be rookie Eli Rogers. The second-year pro out of Louisville has impressed during training camp and preseason action.
Pittsburgh’s offense is arguably the most explosive in the league with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, Brown and star running back Le’Veon Bell, when he returns from his three-game suspension. One thing Pittsburgh has lacked in recent seasons is a reputable threat opposite the dynamic Brown. If the Steelers could find that in Wheaton or Coates, it would make the offense even more potent.
For now, Pittsburgh’s offense will be even more shorthanded Monday night at FedEx Field.