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Emmanuel Sanders Must Fulfill Expectations Set by Pittsburgh Steelers

July 21st, 2013 at 10:01 PM
By Mark Mihalko

The wide receiver position has been one of the most talked about positions for the Pittsburgh Steelers this entire offseason. Between the loss of Mike Wallace to the Miami Dolphins, Emmanuel Sanders flirtation with the New England Patriots and the drafting of two wide outs, it is easy to see why that was the case.

'Steelers vs. Bills' photo (c) 2007, Cynthia Closkey - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/
Sanders has created much of the stir, and while that was troublesome at times during the offseason, the Steelers hope he makes that type of impact during the regular season. In fact, they are not the only ones that are expecting Sanders to breakout and make some noise in 2013, many fantasy football experts see his production going up as well.

While fantasy football is a major reason NFL ratings are off the chart, that type of production is not an indicator of championship caliber football. In Pittsburgh, winning ugly has become a tradition and fantasy numbers always take a backseat to wins, although, it would be nice to have a crystal ball to tell what kind of numbers Sanders may put up.

With Sanders in the fold for 2013, the Steelers would likely love to sign him to a multi-year extension prior to the season, however, that is an unlikely proposition. For the first time in his career, he will have a chance to start and could have a career season opposite Brown in this offense.  Many inside and outside the organization expect Sanders to haul in around 70 balls for over 1000 yards in 2013, number that would dwarf his previous best.

Sanders has the talent to pull that off and appears to be the perfect fit in Todd Haley’s offense, which puts an emphasis on route running, quickness and running ability after the catch. More importantly, he is likely to play with an edge and pad statistics to drive up his value on the open market following the 2013 campaign.  If the Steelers want compete for a championship, they will need players like Sanders to step up on offense. With this being a contract year, Sanders will likely want to oblige them, leading both to the Promised Land.

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Tags: Emmanuel Sanders, Football, Mike Wallace, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers

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