Expectations are high


By Teresa Varley

Latrobe, Pa. - Hines Ward arrived at camp with a camcorder. Nate Washington rolled in with a Mohawk. And Santonio Holmes has some nice designer luggage over his shoulder.

One other thing they all arrived with, though, are high expectations for themselves and the entire receiving unit.

"It's going to be exciting this year. I am expecting a lot of big things out of myself," said Holmes. "I am expecting to be more involved with the offense this year. I have been productive with catches, yards and touchdowns, but I think more opportunities are going to come."

With the addition of second-round pick Limas Sweed and strong depth at wide receiver the position can be a huge asset for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

"We can be real good," said Washington. "We can be with the best of the best out there. It will be good to go out there and establish a passing game to help Willie (Parker) and the running game out."

Holmes has set goals for himself this year, not ones he is willing to reveal, but the goals don't have exact numbers attached to him. He knows in his mind how to measure what will be successful for him.

"You don't attach numbers," said Holmes. "Guys don't write down numbers because it's unrealistic. You know what a set amount is that is attainable."

If there is one guy that thinks Holmes and the rest of the receiving corps can achieve those goals it is Ward. With the three returning veterans and a mix of young players, Ward has high hopes for the offense in general.

"Last year Ben (Roethlisberger) had his best year and he is going to continue to grow," said Ward. "Another year for Santonio, Nate and myself and you add Sweed and the other younger guys hopefully we can go out there and have a nice receiving corp.

"Santonio is coming into his own being a deep threat play maker down the field. Heath (Miller) is coming along. Now we have a one-two punch at the running back. Nate is coming along. Ben is coming off a Pro Bowl year. We have weapons there."

Washington will be competing with Sweed for the third receiver spot, but it's something that he is looking forward to. He had no qualms about the Steelers drafting Sweed in the second round and actually welcomed it.

"It puts a little fire under me to perform the way that I can," said Washington. "It's in my competitive nature to do what I need to do. This will be my fourth year in the league. I definitely feel good. I feel great. It should be a good one."

While the individual expectations are high for these guys, there is one thing that they all expect as a team.

"For me I don't want anything less than a Super Bowl," said Ward. "That's why we come out here and practice the two-a-days, to try to win a Super Bowl."

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