Richard Mann was hired by Mike Tomlin on Feb. 13, 2013 to bring an old-school, fundamental approach to coaching the Steelers wide receivers. With Jerricho Cotchery and Emmanuel Sanders having left as unrestricted free agents, the Steelers have undergone some turnover at the top of the depth chart, and therefore training camp will be a critical time for the development of the group.
Mann recently addressed a variety of issues pertaining to this group of wide receivers:
Q. Can you talk about what the addition of veteran Lance Moore means to this corps of receivers?
A. What he can do, and from what I've seen so far, he can probably fill the void that we had after losing Jerricho Cotchery. We have a couple of other guys we are looking at (in that role). We might have to jerry-rig a few things to get the blocking aspect of it, but as far as the passing game, I think we are going to be fine.
Q. What have you seen from Darrius Heyward-Bey (pictured above), who came into the league as a first-round draft pick?**
A. What we are doing with him is just trying to get his confidence up. He has speed. He has talent. We'll teach him what to do, and hopefully we can put him in a position to succeed with his speed and intelligence. We will take advantage of what he does best.
Q. What about Martavis Bryant, the fourth-round pick from Clemson?
A. He's a big guy, different from what we've had, as far as his length. We feel like we can utilize his talents in the red zone. He has a big reach. He has good speed. So we can use him in various ways, as far as cleaning things out. He's also a deep threat. He does have the speed.
Q. Is Dri Archer showing the ability to be a multiple threat for this offense?
A. No question [he is]. We feel like he can be our ace in the hole, or the joker, since we can use him in various positions. We can move him around. We can utilize his running ability by lining him up as a running back, and he also has receiving skills. I think it's up to Coach Haley and the offensive staff to put him in places where he can succeed. I think he's going to be a weapon for us.
Q. What did you see from the receivers over the course of the entire offseason program?
A. That we've come a long way, but we aren't where we need to be. What I've been telling my guys is that we are gearing it up for the Buffalo Bills. That will be our first test when we practice against them in training camp. That is when we will be able to see how far we've come. That will be the key, to compete against some people we haven't gone against.
Q. How would you describe Markus Wheaton's progress?**
A. I made a comment during OTAs that he was doing really well as a rookie last year until he hurt his finger against Minnesota (on Sept. 29). He kind of went downhill, but he came back in the end. He played hurt. He was still hurt. I think that's a testament to what kind of guy he is. I think he's doing very well. I think he's going to compete, and I think he will end up helping us.
Q. What about second-year pro Derek Moye?
A. I think Derek has to play his way onto the team again. That's the way it is. He knows that. He's a guy who has made steady improvement from the time I came here to the present. I think he has gotten better each practice. Each time he's on the field I think he gets better. He is a guy who has to play his way on, but he has a chance.
Q. Can you talk about the no-huddle offense?
A. We always work on it. We did quite a bit last year at the end of the season, and so if Coach Haley decides to do it and Coach Tomlin decides that's what we want to do, then we will be ready to do it. We are gearing ourselves up to be able to go no-huddle at any time we choose to do it.
Q. What did you see from Antonio Brown during the offseason?
A. I think he's done a lot of things really well. He doesn't really look like the same guy. He's made a transition. He's very confident. He's matured. He understands the concepts. He's smoother. His body language is different. He's just a different guy. He's matured a lot.