Skip to main content

Wheaton: 'We've come a long way'


Trust is one of the most important things a quarterback and receiver can share, but often times one of the toughest to develop.

For Markus Wheaton and Ben Roethlisberger, while it's taken a little bit of time, it has arrived and it's showing each week in the contributions Wheaton is making in the passing game.

"It feels good," said Wheaton. "I feel like I am starting to gain Ben's trust more than anything. When it comes to working in the middle it's a little tougher to gain the trust, takes a little more time. I think we have come a long way.

"When you watch Heath (Miller) in the middle, Ben and Heath have a really good connection and have done it for a long time. I am trying to get where they are."

Wheaton, in his third season, once again played a key role for the Steelers in the win over the Bengals, pulling in four receptions for 65 yards in what was a balanced passing attack. It's the communication he has developed with Roethlisberger that has been leading to him being more involved, communication that is aided by the fact that their lockers are right next to each other.

"Every day when I see him, when we get to the lockers, he will tell me something he saw, or something he expected me to do that I didn't do," said Wheaton. "Same with me. As soon as I see him I will ask him about certain plays, or talk to him about plays that I messed up on or should have done better.

"We've come a long way simply by having those interactions."

The other key contributing factor is the extra work Roethlisberger and the receivers put in after practice, something that benefits both players. When you have a receiver who is going across the middle, the quarterback has to have faith that he is going to make the tough catch with a defender bearing down on him. Wheaton has earned that faith.

"It's huge, especially working in the middle," said Wheaton. "I am trying to get a feel for what he expects and needs when I have to read routes and have routes in the middle."

And as everyone knows, those aren't easy routes. But Wheaton said he embraces and enjoys it, even if he does sometimes hear footsteps.

"It doesn't bother me at all," said Wheaton. "At the end of the day I still have to do what I have to do. You know you are going to get hit. When you expect it, it's not as bad. The worst ones are when you don't expect it, when it's the last minute that you see it or feel it. Those are the worst."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.