He was in the same coaching staff as head coach Mike Tomlin when they both served as assistant coaches from 2002-2005. Richard Mann has 28 years of NFL coaching experience and in 2013, he is the new wide receivers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pittsburgh will be Mann’s seventh team he has coached wide receivers for in the National Football League since 1982. From western Pennsylvania, Mann is a former Aliquippa Fighting Quip (high school with 700 combined victories and 15 WPIAL championships). Mike Ditka, Ty Law, and Darrelle Revis are also “Quips.”
Heading into training camp, Mann will be in charge of coaching 11 wide receivers, 7 of which have less that three years of experience. Most of them will be fighting for a roster spot when July comes. Mann reminds everyone that everybody has a job to do.
“As the coach, I have to get them to play,” said Mann. “That’s what I’ve always been told. With that said, within the room, I work hard. We’ll work hard at looking at the tape to give them some insight into how the opponent plays, we’ll teach them the coverages, we’ll go over all the rules so we don’t make mistakes because that’s one thing we’re big on. I’ll put the time in, and if they see me putting the time in, they’ll put the time in.”
Antonio Brown, 5’10” 186 lbs, Experience: 4th season – Brown comes in as the top receiver on the Steelers’ depth chart. Since coming into the league as a sixth round selection from Central Michigan, Brown has become a big threat in the NFL when the ball touches his hands. In 2011, Brown was selected to his first Pro Bowl when he recorded 69 receptions for 1,108 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brown fell off the wagon a bit in 2012 when he recorded just 66 receptions for 787 yards. Brown battled injuries last season as well as a fumbling problem (4). As he remains humble, Brown looks to turn those numbers around in 2013 and step up as Ben Roethlisberger’s top target. 2012 stats: GP: 13 GS: 10 REC: 66 YDS: 787 AVG: 11.9 LNG: 60 TD: 5
Emmanuel Sanders, 5’11” 180 lbs, Experience: 4th season – Hanging onto his Steelers career by a couple of hours back in March, Sanders was hours away from becoming a wide receiver for the New England Patriots when he signed an offer sheet as a restricted free agent. Moving on from that, Sanders looks to put the past behind him and focus on the 2013 season as he steps into his first season as a starting wide receiver. With just 8 starts on his resume, Sanders’ role will be increased dramatically as the starting split end. In his 40 career games, Sanders has yet to record a 100-yard game. 2013 will be Sanders’ biggest test. 2012 stats: GP: 16 GS: 7 REC: 44 YDS: 626 AVG: 14.2 LNG: 37 TD: 1
Jerricho Cotchery, 6’1″ 200 lbs, Experience: 10th season – Entering his third season with the black and gold, Jerricho Cotchery has yet to become a factor in the Steelers offense, but that can all change in 2013. Rolling into camp, Cotchery will be second behind Antonio Brown at the flanker position. Since coming into the league in 2004, Cotchery has 391 receptions and 20 touchdowns. Cotchery will be a good leader among these young receivers the Steelers have. Although, he will need to battle hard in camp if he wants more playing time in 2013. 2012 stats: GP: 14 GS: 2 REC: 17 YDS: 205 AVG: 12.1 LNG: 24 TD: 0
Plaxico Burress, 6’5″ 232 lbs, Experience: 12th season – After leaving the Steeles when the 2004 season ended, Plaxico Burress found his way back onto the roster in 2012. Burress signed a contract with the Steelers to keep him on the roster through the 2013 season as well (if he is to make the team). Burress played in just three games in 2012 and was not much of a factor. However, in 2013, Burress has insisted through interviews that he has been working hard during the offseason and believes he can still be a threat in the red zone. 2012 stats: GP: 3 GS: 0 REC: 3 YDS: 42 AVG: 14.0 LNG: 18 TD: 1
Markus Wheaton, 5’11” 182 lbs, Experience: Rookie (3rd Round) – Drafted in the third round from Oregon State, Wheaton caught a career high 11 touchdowns in his last season with the Beavers. Wheaton is expected to move up the depth chart during the season, but missed all of OTA’s and minicamp due to a late graduation under the quarters system. 2012 (college) stats: REC: 91 YDS: 1,244 AVG: 13.7 LNG: 51 TD: 11
Justin Brown, 6’3″ 209 lbs, Experience: Rookie (6th Round) – In one season at Oklahoma, wide receiver Justin Brown quickly found himself as one of Landry Jones‘ top wide outs. After transferring from Penn State, Brown recorded 73 receptions for 5 touchdowns. 4 of those came on third down. If the Steelers keep six wide receivers, Brown may be the last man on the depth chart, but Brown will probably battle Plaxico Burress as the second string split end behind Emmanuel Sanders. 2012 (college) stats: GP: 13 REC: 73 YDS: 879 AVG: 12.04 LNG: 46 TD: 5
David Gilreath, 5’10” 169 lbs, Experience: 3rd season – Gilreath has been placed on four separate practice squads including the Steelers in 2012 after spending time with the Colts, Rams, and Bills’ practice squads. He was signed onto the active roster on November 12, 2012 but mainly saw action on special teams for the black and gold. 2012 stats: N/A
Kashif Moore, 5’10” 175 lbs, Experience: 2nd season – After a productive college career at Connecticut, Moore has had trouble staying on an NFL roster. He bounced around from the Bengals, Texans, Chargers, and Colts’ practice squads. Moore was then placed on the Steelers’ offseason roster for the 2013 season. 2012 stats: N/A
Derek Moye, 6’5″ 210 lbs, Experience: 2nd season – An invitation to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine did not do enough for Derek Moye to be drafted, and has been bouncing around ever since. After being released by the Doplhins, Saints, and the Steelers once, the Steelers placed Moye on the practice squad. Moye caught 18 touchdowns in his college career at Penn State. 2012 stats: N/A
Reggie Dunn, 5’9″ 178 lbs, Experience: Rookie (undrafted) – As a receiver, Reggie Dunn has a long road to hoe if he plans on making the football team. He recorded just one receiving touchdown in his three seasons with the Utah Utes. His best chance to make the team will be at special teams. 2012 (college) stats: REC: 12 YDS: 74 AVG: 6.2 LNG: 29 TD: 0
J.D. Woods, 6’0″ 203 lbs, Experience: Rookie (undrafted) – A late bloomer into the pass happy West Virginia spread offense, Woods proved to be a reliable receiver in 2012. In his first two seasons, Woods was an underachiever and had a season high of just 18 receptions in 2011. Woods had to turn it up in his last season to save his NFL dreams. 2012 stats: REC: 61 YDS: 637 AVG: 10.4 LNG: 50 TD: 4
Side Notes: Keep your eyes out for J.D. Woods. A man that fed off the crowd at West Virginia and will now enter the Steeler Nation. Woods also understands what it means to be a part of the organization. “Being a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers organization means a lot to me because of Coach [Bill] Stewart, God rest his soul,” says Woods, referring to the former Mountaineers football coach. “He praised Coach [Mike] Tomlin and all we heard in the meeting room was Coach Tomlin this, Coach Tomlin that. To actually be a part of Coach Tomlin’s organization is a tremendous pleasure of mine.” Bill Stewart once gave Tomlin his first assistant coaching position when he was working at VMI.
Steeler Nation, here are your 2013 wide receivers heading into training camp. If any moves are to be made prior to training camp, this article will be updated for you. This is a group that may not impress other teams and fans but I am very excited to see what these 11 guys can bring to the table. Their jobs are on the line. Keep checking back as we will break down every position before camp takes off on July 26.