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Monday, May 06, 2013

Rookie camp completed

The Steelers and their 41 rookies and first-year players completed their first weekend of working with the team.

By all accounts, the team came away happy with what it saw.

First-round pick Jarvis Jones came off like James Farrior in interviews - thoughtful and humble - and looked the part on the field.

Second-round pick Le'Veon Bell showed why the Steelers thought so highly of him, displaying some wiggle in the open field to go along with his combination of size and speed.

Forget the idea of Bell "sharing" the workload for the Steelers. He's the favorite to start and get 300 carries.

Third-rounder Markus Wheaton is extremely quick and was sharp running his routes.

Fourth-rounder Shamarko Thomas appears as if he'll be a special teams star, while also stepping into the safety rotation - on the strong side - once he gets the nuances of Dick LeBeau's defense down.

Landry Jones had a tough weekend, but that's not all that out of the ordinary for a quarterback learning a new vernacular with new receivers.

Priority free agent wideout Reggie Dunn has a legitimate shot at making this team despite his lack of size. The 5-8 speedster is as fast as his 4.25 40-time would suggest and is elusive and quick enough to play gunner on coverage units. I should also mention that he returned five kickoffs 100 or more yards in college.

Offensive lineman Nik Embernate is another priority free agent with an excellent chance of making this team. The powerful guard is nasty to the bone. Can't wait to see him hitting people for real once training camp begins.


Anonymous said...

Can't wait to see Bell carry the load in black n yellow. He is what we've lacked since Jerome. 315 carries 1400 yards 10+ td's R.O.Y

Patrick said...

Stefan Logan, Chris Rainey, Reggie Dunn.

I'm Dunn with those kind of guys. What a waste of a roster spot they are.

I'm also not cheering for Bell to get over 300 carries. See Willie P and Mendenhall for the reasons why.

Anonymous said...

All the talk of Golic from other sources, that's just cuz he's a Golic, right?

Zac in Tempe

Anonymous said...

Dale, thanks for the insight. And put me in the category that thinks 300 carries is fine. He had 382 behind a terrible O-line with no passing game last year and didn't get hurt. Mind you, this kid will be all of 21 years old for the duration of the year. 2nd round pick of not, with what we've spent on our Oline lately, and the depletion of our WR corps, you feed him the ball early and often. We will run the ball 30 times a game this year, and Bell will likely see the lion's share. This team doesn't win games by airing it out to Antonio Brown and a couple of first year starters, especially with Heath hobbling. Our offense will be built around the run. And letting a young 240 lb back carry the load will make us healthier late in the season.

Anonymous said...

... and no injuries, who hoo!

Anonymous said...

Give that kid 25 carries a game, he's a beast

kyle said...

There's nothing wrong with a return man if he can also be an effective gunner. Plenty of teams keep a "special teams" guy. Patrick Bailey was one. Steve Tasker has people saying he should be in the Hall of Fame as a special teams player.

Really the risk you run with a return man is if he ends up being Devin Hester then you have to pay him more than a return man is worth...then you try to work him into your offense so he earns his money even though he's not a good receiver. I'll take that risk.

datruth4life said...

Dale, what type of hands did Reggie Dunn display this past weekend? I think if he can return punts as well as play in the slot, he has a good chance of sticking. 4.25 speed is 4.25 speed, at any level.

Patrick said...

Logan, Rainey and Dunn aren't going to to the hall of fame.

If Tasker is your logic then they should have drafted someone like Mathieu, who I think could end up being one of the best ST players ever, if he can keep away from a bong.

But the guys I'm talking about don't do special teams very well. They return on a very average level and pretend to play offense, when they don't.

Alan Rossum was a better use of a roster spot than these 3, and I wasn't a big fan of Rossum as a roster spot either.

kyle said...

Logan had one underwhelming year with the Steelers and has been with Detroit ever since. So either they have a roster spot to burn every year or they like him for whatever reason.

Rainey played one year in the pros and if I remember correctly he was in the top ten for return average.

Dunn hasn't played a snap but in college he had four kick returns for touchdowns. Without checking the numbers I'm going to assume that's above average.

Like I said, having a "special teams guy" on your roster is fine if he's an amazingly good return man or just a good return man but also contributes on coverage units.

Mathieu and Tasker are polar opposite football players. Mathieu has the physical attributes (despite his height and poor 40 time) and no brain. Tasker had no physical gifts and tons of grit. I'm not sure what the point of Mathieu in Arizona is unless they plan on pulling Peterson off of the return game, which would be insane.

Patrick said...

Difference between Rainey and #20 on that list for kickoff return is 3.1 yards. Rainey also never scored on a return.

For a guy who does nothing else, thats a waste of a roster spot.

I have a friend who is a diehard Lions fan, from Detroit, and says the whole fanbase would like Logan to go. Logan is also last on that list by the way.

These guys do not justify a roster spot.

Patrick said...

and I don't think Logan or Rainey are considered good coverage guys. They are both midgets, who are they tackling?

I get thats not the entire point of coverage guys, but come on, there are other guys on the roster capable of what they do.

kyle said...

I'm not defending Logan's spot on the team. I said it was underwhelming (at best). 3.1 yards per kick return is not to be scoffed at...unless there's a new kickoff rule that leads to more touchbacks AND you aren't a huge help on coverage units AND you aren't a contributor on offense or defense. I don't know if Dunn will meet all of the criteria. Considering how little he was used on offense at Utah, I'd be surprised. If you do all of those things then you are more valuable than the 10th offensive lineman or 10th defensive back in my opinion. If all you do is return kicks and you're not Devin Hester, then yeah, I agree. But you seem to be saying that even if they meet the criteria they aren't worth a roster spot, I disagree with that.

Patrick said...

if you don't score as as a returner AND could be replaced by someone else already on the roster on kick coverage who can also tackle (was Rainey ever s gunner? I know Logan had some plays there, which I remember being comical) AND you do next to nothing on offense,......

then I think you are not needed on the roster. Logan and Rainey were absolutely wastes. I don't see how Dunn would be any different.

kyle said...

Scoring as a returner is rare. That's a high threshold. A very good return average is worth quite a bit unless you don't remember the days of "Najeh Davenport - Kick Returner."

Maybe give Dunn a couple preseason games to determine if he's different? Are you basing it entirely on body type or his time at Utah? The kid is a longshot. If he doesn't show a ton during the preseason as a returner then he has zero chance of making the team, I don't get the point in writing him off now. In any case, I'll be watching Marshall McFadden and Adrian Robinson (along with the rookies of course) before Dunn.

Patrick said...

I said "scoring" but I don't feel like Logan ever gave us even the chance of scoring. And I know Rainey had a few called back but a 3 yard return average above the top 20 guy and thats ALL you contribute? I just don't see the value.

Which is why I'm not giving Dunn a chance because unless hes Devin Hester, at barely 5'10 and 170 lbs ,I just don't see what hes going to bring.

Patrick said...

and there are guys on this team that can return without resorting to someone like Davenport.

kyle said...

"Guys on the team" is why I'm ok with designated special teams guys. If Anthony Madison could return kicks in addition to being a fantastic gunner he would still be a Steeler. Antonio Brown is a pro bowl returner but if you are good on offense then nobody wants you returning kicks. So the return man is damned either way: if he can return kicks people want him to do more, if he can do more they don't want him returning kicks.

They get to have like 75 guys on the roster for a few months. I don't think Dunn is much of a waste at the moment.

Patrick said...

I don't want a "return guy". Give me Stephens-Howling who can play as a 3rd down back or give me a Randle-El who can do a lot of things. Denard Robinson is a better use of a roster spot that everybody we've mentioned so far.

kyle said...

I'm fine with those three as returners but if a return specialist can't do those things but gets tackles on coverage units then I'm fine with that too. Additional contribution is all I ask if they aren't amazing at returning the ball. If that contribution only comes on other special teams then I don't have a problem with it.

Patrick said...

do you consider Stefan Logan or Chris Rainey a good cover guy? And if so, what is it based on?

I don't know if Rainey even played on the coverage units.

kyle said...

Again, I'm not pining for the days of Logan. I rooted for him in his first training camp because I like an underdog but he had some fumbles and penalties. He was OK as a gunner. I don't think Rainey played on coverage units, if he did he had no impact. Curtis Brown was like third in the league for special teams tackles last year which is why I'll be ok with him making the team if he shows enough to be the fifth or sixth DB (I bring this up only because I was surprised to see it). Are you saying any small guy who is being looked at as a returner isn't worth the look? That seems a little myopic.

Patrick said...

I'm saying by your credentials you basically just agreed with me that Rainey was a waste. Unless you are feeling that strongly about a 3.2 difference or whatever it is.

I don't see what Dunn brings that isn't much different than Rainey.

Anonymous said...

This argument is completely pointless. Patrick is up to his usual high quality commenting

kyle said...

This is pretty pointless, Anonymous.

This will be my final word on it. I think Rainey was an above average returner. He contributed a little bit on offense. If he had been in an offense that used a true screen game a bit more, perhaps he could have contributed more, I don't know for sure. He made a lot of dumb mistakes off the field so I'm fine with him being cut. But I don't think he was a waste of a roster spot, at least not any more than Legursky or Brandon Johnson were.

I just think it's too easy to write off a guy before OTA's even start.

Patrick said...

thanks anonymous for your quality commenting.

Kyle, you truly think Rainey was as good of a roster spot as Legursky? Seriously? You can't legitimately in your heart of hearts think that.

kyle said...

A guy in the top 10 in return average, who contributes at least somewhat on offense compared to an undersized lineman who is woefully inadequate at any position other than Center?

If Rainey was on the field on offense he could at least run a route and tie up a DB or LB. If Legursky was at Guard that meant he was getting beat. Legursky was solid as a backup Center. If all you can do is play backup Center then you are not any more important to me than a Kick Returner.

I'm pretty sure that's what I believe in my brain of brains.

Patrick said...

we'll never agree then. I don't know why you keep saying he did something on offense when he barely did anything. He had 2 TD's one I remember was a huge hole and the other a goofy goal line play. He also got turned like a pretzel one game. McCluster he is not.

Lets assume for the sake of argument that he would have a 3.0 yard per return average over the next guy on the team.

Compared with Legursky who started a SB and called the blocking scheme when Pouncey went done. His ability at guard was poor, yes, but he was a valuable and smart back-up center.

There was no one on the roster not named Pouncey that could provide what Legursky did, but about 4 guys who could provide what Rainey did and then some. I don't find value in a 3 yards a kickoff and a big hi away from never playing again.

kyle said...

He contributed. He was on the field and got the ball a few times. That's a thing. Is he great? Nope. Is he a complete liability? Nope. He's a Return guy who can do a couple other things a little bit. But you're right, he's not Dexter McCluster so that means he's awful.

You pulled 3 yards per return out of a hat. You arbitrarily chose the 20th guy on the list to diminish the fact that Rainey was like 8th in kick return average. 8th is good. Just admit it. It's not a sole reason to keep a guy around but if he's 8th and runs or catches the ball here and there then sure he's worth a backup center or 9th linebacker to me.

Mitch Berger is a Super Bowl winning punter. Does that mean he's good too? Darnell Stapleton started (and won!) a Super Bowl, is he better than Legursky?

Essex played a game at center and acquitted himself pretty well (Essex!) in a game where Legursky, you know, got hurt.

Every player is one big hit from never playing again, not just the little guys.

Roster spots are not as precious as you are making them out to be. Every year teams have players who never play a snap, a Kick Returner is worth more than that.

Patrick said...

I picked 20 because there are 23 on the list, with our boy Stefan Logan being number 23. His average is 21.3 which is 1.7 yards below 21 and 22, which are Shaughn Draughn (?) and Brandon Boykin (.1 and .3 below Number 20 Reynaud. If we don't have a Reynaud, Shaughn Draughn or a Brandon Boykin on the roster, then ok, but thats not your argument.

And my argument is you have to have a backup center, especially one with brains. You don't need a Chris Rainey. There are guys already on the roster who do what he does. You think he provides value but I see it as limiting your roster flexibility. The Steelers had to make all kinds of moves during the season because of injuries. Most teams do. A guy like Chris Rainey limits what you can do what that happens, because again, someone else on the roster does what he does. Maybe its two-three yards less on kickoff returns but its next to nothing on offense as the difference.

So again, Rainey to me is useless. When he starts changing games with his return ability, let me know. The Steelers had a decent returner in Randle-El who was a 3rd receiver, a trick play threat, and an emergency QB. Thats an efficient roster spot. Rainey is not.

Patrick said...

and if you think Rainey isn't more susceptible to injury than most players, you are kidding yourself.

kyle said...

Legursky did a job that other people on the roster could do. Having someone like Legursky limits the roster flexibility. That's my point. Having a Kick Returner who is average or even below average as an offensive or defensive player is no less valuable than a backup Center who plays no other position.

Willie Colon is a huge, strong guy. How many games did he miss the last three years? How big you are does not determine the likelihood that you will get hurt. Luck determines it. I was going to get more into that but I don't want to bring up yet another topic since you seem to break out in hives if you don't get the last word.

Patrick said...

who on the roster was as good as Legursky was when he had to fill in for Pouncey? That doesn't make sense to me.

If you think Rainey at his height and weight and the fact that we literally watched him crumble like a tin can is not an injury risk, then ok, but I think the facts show you're wrong.

Colon is certainly an injury prone player. They exist, but when you're tiny, you are tiny. And we saw that with Rainey. We see that with a lot of smaller players. And to me, when you add up the fact he barely plays offense, his kick return average is 3 point whatever better than most guys, AND those guys exist on the roster, hes not needed.

If you want to say nonsense like "you break into hives" without the last word, then I won't respond. I didn't insult you. If you were that offended by "you are kidding yourself" then my bad, but damn, thats sensitive.

kyle said...

Essex played a game at Center and did well and he anchored better than Legursky.

The facts are that big guys get hurt just as often as little guys. I'm not comparing ability here, bear that in mind, but Barry Sanders was an inch shorter and 20 pounds heavier than Rainey and he never missed significant time. Those 20 pounds made the difference? Little guys look like they can't take a hit as readily as a big guy but that isn't the determining factor. Luck is the biggest reason it seems if you look at how randomly injuries are spread among the players.

Also, Rainey was actually 7th in Kick Return average. He was only 3.1 yards per return better than the 20th guy. He was also only 4.2 yards per return behind the 1st guy. If he had been 1st would he have been worth a spot?

I didn't say you break out into hives if you don't get the last word because I was offended. I am incapable of being offended by something someone says about me on the internet. I said it because we've spoiled yet another thread with a silly back and forth that doesn't matter. I've stopped responding usually because even if I don't ask any questions or I just say "well, that's just my opinion" you still feel the need to respond and be kinda dismissive when you do.