Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site: http://www.observer-reporter.com/section/BLOGS08

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Training camp battles to watch

With training camp set to start at the end of the week, here are a few of the battles that will be contested over the next few weeks:

Nickle corner: William Gay was re-signed and is the frontrunner, but third-year pro Curtis Brown can't be overlooked. Gay has played the position in the past and contrary to some fans' beliefs, has played well as the third corner. But Brown has more upside. Josh Victorian, DeMarcus Van Dyke and rookie Terry Hawthorne could be in the mix as well since the Steelers intend to move starter Cortez Allen back into the slot on passing downs. Regardless of who wins the No. 3 job, the Steelers have a great deal of depth.

Running back: Will a true starter emerge? Jonathan Dwyer opened the offseason getting the No. 1 carries, but Isaac Redman had pretty much surpassed him by the end. The Steelers want rookie Le'Veon Bell to win the spot but he's going to have to do just that, win it. He won't be handed the position by default.

Third wide receiver: This should be interesting. We know that Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will be the starters. But who will be No. 3 in the pecking order, Plaxico Burress, Jerricho Cotchery or rookie Markus Wheaton? It will likely depend on the down and distance, but Cotchery will likely get the majority of snaps as the No. 3 until Wheaton gets his feet under him. The Steelers should take a look at veteran Donald Jones, released by New England last week, as well.

Right outside linebacker: It's Jason Worilds job to lose. Rookie Jarvis Jones might see some time as a situational pass rusher, but Worilds will get every opportunity to run with it - at least until the bye week.

18 comments:

marc said...

dale,
does mclendon have the starter spot nailed down? how does ta'amu look?

i am also interested to see how TE pans out. is spaeth the hands down favorite there?

Steve D said...

Dale, what do you like about Donald Jones? Given that the Patriots are receiver-needy, I'm surprised that anyone they release might meet a need for us.

Dale Lolley said...

I would give Jones a chance based on past production and at 6-0, 208, he has a little more size than the others. You get him for the veteran minimum at this point, so why not?
The Patriots cut him because they wanted to give some of the young wideouts on their roster a chance. That means he wasn't as good in their eyes as Amendola and Mike Jenkins. But he could provide depth for the Steelers.

Yes, McLendon is the starting nose tackle. As far as Ta'amu, haven't seen any of the players in nearly two months, so I can't say.

And yes, Spaeth is the favorite to hold down the tight end spot.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick said...

these commercial trolls are worse than Patrick

Steve-O said...

Dale,
I'm not sure how you rate Curtis Brown but the fact that Gay is back leads me to believe the Steelers didn't have a strong belief that Brown was up to the task. Also, Considering his draft status as compared to Cortez Allen I'd have to say he was over drafted if he doesn't win the nickel job

Dale Lolley said...

Brown is still in the mix. They wanted Gay back because they value his abilities both in and out of the locker room. Plus, he could play safety in a pinch.

Anonymous said...

I dunno. When the DBs were dropping like flies, LeBeau ran away from Brown at every opportunity. After @Bal and SD, seemed LeBeau lost all confidence in Brown. Victorian passed him on a hemorrhaging depth chart, resigned when Ike broke his leg, after having been dumped from their practice squad a week or two earlier. When Allen got hurt, they turned more to Golden for the nickel spot, who had been their #5 safety. That's how far Brown had fallen. Ike, Lewis, Allen, Victorian, Golden, then Brown. Good news for him was he was still ahead of DVD, who couldn't sniff the field outside of STs. One of those two won't make it out of Latrobe.

marc said...

i realize you haven't seen them. i meant how does ta'amu look in regards to potentially overtaking mclendon. do you think he has a shot?

Nate said...

The signing of Gay has nothing to do with Curtis Brown's development. In the modern NFL, you need at least 4 reliable corners. Gay was a inexpensive veteran who played well in Lebeau's system.

This is Curtis Brown's year. Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis both took two years before they earned regular playing time in the defense. Brown is a similar player - good physical attributes, has shown flashes, but makes mental mistakes.

Nate said...

So what happens if Worlids turns out to be really good? Obviously that would be a nice problem to have, but are there pass rush scenarios where Woodley, Worilds, and Jones could be on the field at the same time?

Eric T said...

Nate, I imagine they will rotate them and keep them fresh.

Anonymous said...

I hope you're embarrassed Patrick

Mike said...

All the doubters could convince a less studious fan that the 2013 Steelers are bidding for a top 10 draft spot. I couldn't disagree more. Talent from recent drafts is knocking at the door all over this roster: OL, WR, DB, RB. Add some fortuitous development at DL and health at LB and who wants a piece of this team? 8-8 seems to have bred focus and attitude in this locker room.

Not to be a homer, but I love the mix of youth and experience on this squad. We'll see what it gets them starting Friday...

Dale Lolley said...

Last year was last year with Brown. You'd expect a big leap forward in his third year. I know that they do.
They made the moves that they made last year because they were in a win-now mode during the season. Doesn't necessarily carry over.

As for Ta'amu, McLendon is the starter, period.

Patrick said...

why am I embarrassed?

mike lee said...

National Football is one of a most popular sport in American,and many fans like to buy they favorite plays’ jerseys,now I introduce you an professional online store,wholesale all kinds nike nfl jerseys, http://www.mlbnfljerseysale.com/nfl-jerseys-c-28.html, welcome to choose, http://www.mlbnfljerseysale.com/ncaa-jerseys-c-291.html

Rachele said...

This is great!