Here's Novel Approach:

Just catch the ball. So says SCI.net's Mike Prisuta when it comes to figuring out who's playing where in what situation for the Steelers' offense.

Just catch the damn ball.

Do that and all of this wide receiver stuff will go away faster than Mike Wallace used to get into the end zone.

Do that and it will no longer be an issue if Hines Ward plays nine snaps (as he did on Nov. 13 at Cincinnati), if he plays 16 snaps (as he did last Sunday night in Kansas City), or if he plays more or less than he ever has in his storied Steelers career.

Do that and the suggestion that the offensive coordinator has become too enamored with his toys will become a moot point.

Just catch the damn ball.

Sometimes it really is as simple as that.

It wasn't at Arrowhead.

As a result even a been-there, done-that guy such as Ward has emerged scratching his head.

"In years past it was just me, Mike (Wallace) and Santonio (Holmes), that's what we put our hats on to go out and make plays," Ward said. "Now, we have five guys that are legitimate playmakers on our team. We're just trying to find the best way to utilize all the guys.

"Every week it changes."

Ward wasn't complaining; he was asked a question and he answered it. And he was a little less historically accurate than he was on-point in his response.

The Steelers careers of Ward, Holmes and Wallace actually only intersected for one season, 2009. But the point was the two starters and the No. 3 at receiver used to be much more defined, as Ward remembers it. And if a fourth or a fifth was needed on occasion the Steelers would just work their way down the depth chart accordingly.

Now, suddenly, with Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery and everyone else healthy the Steelers seem determined to see how many ways they can divide five into three.

That happened in Kansas City and Mike Tomlin came away complaining about a lack of "separation" and an absence of "competitive catches" from the wide receivers.

Wallace's response was to blame one wide receiver in particular rather than the way the wide receivers were or were not deployed.

"There's only one person he could be talking to," Wallace said.

Wallace was targeted six times against the Chiefs. He emerged with two catches for 17 yards and disappointed that his totals weren't much more Wallace-like, as they easily could have been and should have been.

"Two of those passes were on account of me; I just dropped them," Wallace said.

One was on first-and-10 from the Steelers' 27-yard line on what should have been a 73-yard touchdown.

"No doubt," Wallace said. "A play I usually make, I just gotta catch it. No excuses, no reason why I didn't catch it. I just didn't catch it."

The other preceded by one snap the Mewelde Moore fumble in the first quarter and would have likewise changed the scoreboard and, presumably, the course of the game.

"In the end zone on the first drive," Wallace said of his other self-acknowledged drop. "I just got a little overexcited, I think, for that game.

"I'll be fine. This week, I got something for y'all. I'll get it together."

If he does, Wallace and the media will be having a significantly different conversation in advance of the Cleveland. "Much different," he agreed.

Catching the damn ball can make that happen, no matter who's playing when or where.


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