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Yards after the catch a point of emphasis


Mike Tomlin has been audible as well as visible during OTAs, particularly when interacting with third-year wide receiver Markus Wheaton.

"He's always on me about my run after (the catch), my YAC," Wheaton said. "He wants us to finish, that's what he's trying to push. And I think he gets his point across very well."

Yards after the catch, or "YAC," has been a point of emphasis for Tomlin with Wheaton this week and will continue to be heading into the 2015 season.

The Steelers participate in Day 3 of the 2015 Organized Team Activities at the Steelers practice facility.

Tomlin hasn't been shy about emphasizing their importance to Wheaton or congratulating him when a play works out as anticipated.

"He's been on me for a good minute now trying to get me to take that next step," Wheaton continued. "I'm working on it.

"He's always pushing it so when he sees it done he's excited about that."

Tomlin saw what he's been longing to see during OTA No. 2 on Wednesday.

Wheaton came across the middle, caught a pass in front of free safety Mike Mitchell and then beat Mitchell to the sideline, turned up the field and sprinted into the end zone.

"I had a middle read, single-high (coverage), so I crossed the safety's face," Wheaton explained. "Perfect ball and then it was pretty much a footrace, me and Mike, I finished.

"He finished, too. That's what Coach wants out here in practice, to work on finishing, so when we get in the game it's natural."

Wheaton, a former third-round picked out of Oregon State, struggled through and injury-plagued rookie season in 2013 but upgraded his numbers, drastically in some cases, in games played (16-12), starts (11-1), catches (53-6), receiving yards (644-64) and receiving TDs (2-0) last season.

The Steelers have already contemplated how Wheaton might continue to progress lining up in the slot between wide receivers Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, especially Wheaton.

"The middle will be wide open," he said. "That will be a benefit for me."

Wheaton has contemplated those possibilities much more than he has whether he'll end up as the No. 2 receiver with Brown or as the No. 3 behind Brown and Bryant.

"I like playing football," Wheaton said. "I don't care where I'm at, honestly.

"I'm confident, I'm excited and I'm enjoying it, just a lot more comfortable out there."

Before and after the catch.

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