Wednesday, August 06, 2014

The dog days

Mike Tomlin said what we all were thinking  after today's practice: It was a lackluster effort.

From defenders jumping offside to running backs putting the ball on the ground, it was a bleh effort the whole way around.

As Tomlin said, guys were just looking to survive instead of improve.

@ Tomlin also said that nose tackle Steve McLendon is dealing with a concussion. That would explain why he's been absent from four consecutive practices - though McLendon was doing some running today, which is a good sign.

Cam Heyward also got a little nicked toward the end of practice - not seriously - and that left the Steelers with a line of ends Cam Thomas and Stephon Tuitt paired with nose tackle Hebron Fangupo.

As I have been saying all along, the McLendon injury could be a blessing in disguise for Tuitt. He's gotten an extended look with the first unit and hasn't looked out of place.

@ Ryan Shazier and Jarvis Jones were both still out today.

Jones looks like he's close to returning with groin strain. But Shazier is limping noticeably. I doubt he plays on Saturday against the Giants, giving Sean Spence a big start.

@ The coaching staff really worked rookie tight ends Rob Blanchflower and Eric Waters over today.

Those two took the majority of the snaps against the linebackers today in one-on-one run blocking drills.

Waters looks to be a quick study. He'll lose a rep to a guy once but then bounce back and win the next one against the same guy.

Blanchflower, whose bigger, was scolded for getting too high in his blocks. He seems to be a quick study as well.

After practice, the coaches had those two working against defensive ends doing the same drills.

They appear to be seeing which one is going to make the practice squad.

@ Rookie left tackle Wesley Johnson just doesn't seem to have the functional strength to play that position in the NFL at this point.

He's also prone to bite on some moves and got schooled a couple of times in one-on-ones today by Terence Garvin, who's not exactly known for his pass rush moves.

8 comments:

Tom said...

Dale sorry if this has been addressed already in previous posts, but regarding the backup Nose Tackle position: at this point has Fangupo flat out looked better than McCullers to the point where the Steelers will cut McCullers (and presumably try to stash him on practice squad) for Fangupo come cut time? Or is it more of a pecking order thing where Fangupo is getting reps he deserves because he has been around a few years? I worry about losing McCullers if he doesn't make the 53.

adamg said...

Dale, I've noticed in camp photos that all the OL seem to be wearing knee braces like they do in college. Is this something new? Would they consider having all OL wear them during games?

Anonymous said...

The odds of McCullers making the final 53 are really low. The guy is a major project.

We could stash him on the practice squad and be pretty sure no one will take him.

We'll see how he does in the preseason but I wouldn't expect too much. Guys with that size who can move are really rare.

Anonymous said...

@ adamg

They started doing that last year in camp IIRC.

James said...

You stated that of the 2 TE's "they appear to be seeing which one is going to make the practice squad". Does that mean that the other one makes the squad? I am also interested in when McCullers is getting reps with McLedon out?

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:21 AM that was what everyone thought before training camp that's not the case anymore.

McCullers had been getting second team reps ahead of Fangupo and is getting first team reps now with McLendon down. It's expected for him to start the preseason game. He's reportedly been giving lineman problems consistently just because of his size.

Dale means just 1 will make the practice squad James.

Anonymous said...

the tight end other will be cut

Dale Lolley said...

McCullers is not going to be cut. In fact, he's usually running with the twos. But in yesterday's instance, they wanted the best look for the defense, so Fangupo bumped up. McCullers has had his moments and is a long-term prospect. They won't want to subject him to clear waivers, in my opinion.
With what I've seen of McCullers, he has a place in this league.

Some of the linemen wear braces and some don't. Some guys are comfortable with them, others are not.