Ben Roethlisberger excited about Emmanuel Sanders' return to Steelers

Rob Carr

Big Ben is happy to have Emmanuel Sanders back. The stats say he has good reason to be excited.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are keeping wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders around, and that makes quarterback Ben Roethlisberger happy, according to Mike Prisuta of WDVE. Roethlisberger was a big proponent of bringing Sanders back and sang his praises after Pittsburgh matched New England's restricted free agent offer sheet for the wideout.

"He’s a lot better than people give him credit for being," Roethlisberger said of Sanders. "He’s really smart."

Sanders appeared in all 16 games for the first time in 2012, and received a career-high 74 targets. He caught 59 percent of those targets for 626 yards and one touchdown. That was good for 8.5 yards per target, a solid number for a team's fourth option and slot receiver who catches primarily short passes.

When looking at the advanced stats, it appears Roethlisberger is on to something when saying Sanders deserves more credit. Football Outsiders' DVOA efficiency statistic rated the wideout as the most efficient receiver on Pittsburgh's roster, measuring him nearly 12 percent better than average. Even more impressive is that he led the team in DYAR, a stat that measures the total number of yards a player contributes over a replacement (average) player despite getting the fourth-most targets.

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