Steelers' Sammie Coates: 'No excuse' for fumbles

The Sammie Coates training camp buzz quieted after a rough preseason opener Friday night.

The Pittsburgh Steelers receiver earned high praise during offseason workouts as the top candidate to earn a major role and the snaps made available by Martavis Bryant's one-year ban. On Friday, Coates had a day to forget.

The second-year wideout fumbled twice, caught three passes for just 18 yards and had one zero-yard run. The fumbles -- one lost -- were particularly disheartening because it displayed a lack of ball security and mental awareness.

Interestingly, Coates told ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that he's never fumbled a football, ever, at any level; not even Pop Warner.

"Great players find a way to bounce back and fix their mistakes," Coates said. "I was careless with the ball today. There's no excuse."

We'll trust daily praise during camp over one disappointing night in the preseason, but Coates needs to push past the poor outing in the next two preseason games. He's battling fellow second-year receiver Eli Rogers (who displayed flashes of shiftiness in space last night) and Darrius Heyward-Bey (spectacular TD grab) for snaps.

It is not as if Coates was the only Steelers player who struggled Friday. With almost every significant offensive player sitting, Pittsburgh didn't even earn a first down until the second quarter. Led by Landry Jones, the Steelers' "first-team" offense earned just 81 total yards in the first half.

While it was a disappointing day for Coates, with Ben Roethlisberger, et al., sitting out, we won't fret. But those fumbles have to go, or Coates will spend another season mostly standing on the sideline.

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