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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mini-camp opens

I spent a lot of time watching Joey Porter work today with the outside linebackers during position drills on the opening day of the Steelers' min-camp.

Porter is coaching it with the same intensity with which he played.

When young linebackers didn't do a drill right, Porter would physically step in and show them the right way to do it, then make then do it again and again, until they got it just right.

"I want you to get the proper technique," he yelled at rookie outside linebacker Howard Jones at one point. "I don't care how fast you do it. I'd rather you do it slow and do it right than do it fast and do it wrong."

Porter was talking specifically with Jones, a Shepherd product, about getting his hips squared while working on his swim move against tackling dummies. Jones slowed down and did the drill correct.

@ How into practices is Porter? He's the only coach I've seen that has to ice his knees during practice.

Part of the reason for that is having spent 10-plus years playing in the NFL. But he's also very active out there.

@ You see the difference between the veterans and the younger guys in their positional drills. The vets do them with confidence and explosion. The younger guys are still feeling their way through the process.

@ Spoke with rookie tight end Eric Waters today about his days at Missouri.

I wondered how it was he had just eight receptions last season and 14 for his career.

"Being targeted less than 10 times in a season, it sucks," said Waters. "Once I get the opportunity at this level, it will be showing everybody else that (Missouri) had a weapon that was never used."

My guess is that Waters won't have any of the Missouri coaches on his Christmas card list.

@ Waters' statement was similar to the one a couple of weeks ago from California (Pa.) wideout C.J. Goodwin, who caught just 11 passes in his only season for the Vulcans.

Goodwin has made a number of acrobatic catches in the short time he's been with the Steelers, including a couple today. It wouldn't surprise me if he makes a strong push to make the practice squad  - though the true test will come when the hitting starts for real.

It's easy to make catches when you know you won't be hit. Doing so when you know you're going to get crushed is sometimes another matter.

But Goodwin is certainly very athletic.

@ Troy Polamalu was at the team's facilities today for the mandatory practice sessions. New free safety Mike Mitchell said he looks forward to learning from Polamalu.

The dynamic between those two should be interesting. Polamalu and Ryan Clark are the best of friends. He and Mitchell don't have to be quite that close, but it would certainly help speed the process for them to get on the same page if they spent some time together.

As Mitchell said, "Us playing together for the first time, he needs to know how I play and how I think. I need to see how he responds to certain situations, handles emotions."

@ Jason Worilds was back on the field for position drills on Tuesday after sitting out the OTAs with an unspecified injury. He's able to run and do conditioning work.

@ Members of the Penn State coaching staff, including head coach James Franklin, were in attendance at practice today.


Steve-O said...

Having watched the linebackers today, do you see any difference in Jarvis Jones? I know it's still football in shorts but I'm really hoping Jones makes the leap in year two.

Tom said...

Not to nitpick but Howard Jones* is the UDFA OLB out of Shepard. Unless they have two Shepard athletes signed...

Can't wait to see how Mitchell and Polamalu gel together. Here's to hoping Worilds stays healthy, locking Cortez up, and Martavis Bryant's development.

Dale Lolley said...

Jarvis looks good. But he looked good in drills last year.