Brown, Miller like what they see from Wheaton

The practice field was almost empty, even receiver Antonio Brown, normally the last player off the field, had headed into the locker room. But one guy remained still working, still fine-tuning his game, second-year receiver Markus Wheaton.

"He is one of those guys who loves to be prepared," said Brown. "He knows that is going to give us a chance to win. He is committed to being prepared and giving us his best every time out there."

Take a look at the Top 10 photos of wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

Wheaton spends as much time as he can on the field, working on every aspect of his game, trying to improve his strengths, his weaknesses and everything in between.

"I feel like I work on everything the same, whether I am bad at it or good at it, I still feel like I put the same amount of time into everything," said Wheaton. "That is probably not the way to do it, but I want to be a good all-around receiver, even the things I am good at I am going to work on."

It's all paying off. Wheaton won the starting receiver spot vacated by the departure of Emmanuel Sanders through free agency this offseason, earning it through that hard work and strong play.

"It seemed like the dust cleared and there he was," said Brown. "He is stepping up the plate, and excited about the opportunity and he is excelling and helping us out."

Through two games he has 11 receptions for 135 yards. Last season, while fighting multiple finger injuries, he had six receptions for 64 yards in 12 games.

"Markus has been a hard working guy since he got here and always open to learning more," said tight end Heath Miller. "I think last year was a little bit of a struggle for him with the injuries. I think all of the hard work the last couple of years is certainly paying off now.

"We drafted him in the third round. I think when they select a player that high they expect him to step in and be a big part of what we are doing and I think Markus is going to make the most of his opportunity."

And the best news is Wheaton is a young player who is still developing and loaded with talent and potential. That is something that has his offensive teammates smiling.

"He is fundamentally sound," said Brown. "He is making a number of plays. We knew he was capable of that. It's tremendous to see his growth from year one to two and see how much he has grown in the offense, understanding, knowing what he needs to do, his blocking, and being on his Q's of being a great receiver."

The Steelers defense will be going against a familiar face on Sunday in wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery. Cotchery spent three seasons (2011-13) with the Steelers and cornerback Ike Taylor knows what he is capable of.

"He is still savvy, getting open, finding holes to sit in the zone, still getting open on man," said Taylor. "He can play in or outside. Regardless of his speed, when it comes down to timing between him and the quarterback that is all football is really about. Him and his quarterback have good timing."

Cotchery isn't the only player Taylor and his teammates will be focused on, as quarterback Cam Newton brings with him the ability to throw the ball downfield, or take off running if need be, and he isn't easy to bring down.

"It's rare when you find a quarterback that has a basketball build, a Lebron (James) build," said Taylor. "He can make all of the throws. It's going to take more than one guy to get him down and he also can run. Every time he ran (last week) it was for a first down, the times he did need to run they gained first downs in crucial situations."

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