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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Mini-camp wraps up

The Steelers wrapped up mini-camp with a spirited session on Thursday.

The final session was highlighted by a two-minute situation with the offense scoring on the opening drive and the defense winning the second session.

There was a lot of good-natured jawing going back and forth from the starters on both units, who did not compete in the workout. This was one for the reserves as the coaches took one final look at some guys before sending them off for five weeks.

Per mini-camp rules, I can't give you a rundown on any plays in particular, but Landry Jones looked much more comfortable in the pocket on this day.

Tyler Murphy, meanwhile, had better sharpen up those receiving skills.

@ My biggest takeaways from this offseason of workouts are these:

* This offense is poised to be among the top two or three in the NFL this season, even if Le'Veon Bell has to sit out the first three games. It's that good with playmakers all over the field.

* Daniel McCullers and Clifton Geathers haven't put the pads on yet, but they give the team a great deal of hope for a true five-man rotation on the defensive line. Both are in excellent shape and block out the sun.

* Martavis Bryant should be among the breakout players in the NFL this season, if not the breakout player. He's in great shape and looks much more comfortable and polished.

* I'm still not sure who the backup left tackle is. But Alejandro Villanueva is now up to 340 pounds, which he carries very easily on his 6-9 frame.

Villanueva is still listed at 277 pounds, which goes to show that you can't believe everything on the roster listings.

I'm told he shows a lot of promise as a run blocker. The key will be whether he is too tall to play the position in the NFL.

I'm not writing off Mike Adams as the backup there, but he's only got a year remaining on his contract and the team has to look to the future.

* The coaching staff is very intrigued by massive tight end Cameron Clear, all 6-5, 277 pounds of him.

They obviously liked Jesse James better - enough so that they drafted him - but Clear has a shot as well.

Rob Blanchflower, meanwhile, has been nursing a hamstring injury that he had better hope heals before training camp begins.

* I've written it here before: Don't overlook C.J. Goodwin at wide receiver. Eli Rogers is pretty good, too. The Steelers are going to have some tough cuts at that position.

* I saw a lot more passes being caught by defenders this offseason. The team has put an emphasis on that. If Mike Mitchell can stay healthy - which he did not do last season - he could be primed for a very good year.


Zeke R said...

Does Spence give the Steelers a discount to resign him? I would have to think with the way the team stayed with him through everything, it would be a slap in the face not to. I know it's business, but if it wasn't for this organization his business wouldn't be in football.

datruth4life said...

Dale, have you noticed Matt Conrath at 6'7'', 306 lbs. and L.T. Walton, 6'5'', 320 lbs. on the field? Also, what do you make of Butler saying he's going to turn the DL loose a little more and let the LBs fend for themselves more? Could the blitz be returning to Blitzburgh?

datruth4life said...

Dale, now that Drew Rosenhaus has said that Terrelle Pryor is willing to switch to WR, do you think the Steelers should claim him off waivers as a WR/TE prospect? At 6'5'', 240 lbs. and running a 4.36 40 when he came out of school in 2011, would you take a chance on him for basically nothing? I always thought he could bulk up and be a heck of a weapon as WR/TE/athlete.

Anonymous said...

It's too late for pryor to make the move to WR. He missed that boat.

Anonymous said...

IMO, he seems exactly what Tomlin has been looking for this offseason. A guy who can play QB with some position flexibility. And IIRC Tomlin has a relationship with Pryor, wanted him, but had reservations about a local kid playing for the hometown team, and all the baggage that comes with that. Maybe he's far enough removed now that that's less of a concern. And he's apparently open to playing other positions. Could be that 2pt Slash type Tomlin seems to be searching for right now. I'd rather have him than any of the other debris at the bottom of the roster right now. And that includes Landry Jones.

Dale Lolley said...

They could have signed Pryor two months ago before Cincinnat did. They chose not to do so.

Haven't noticed either of those guys datruth. We'll see about the blitz stuff. Nobody knows at this point. They were just installing the basics.

As for Spence, you can't get any cheaper than the veteran minimum, which is all he'd get anywhere.

Anonymous said...

Could say the exact same thing about their current backup QB. And pretty the past several backup QBs.

And the Bengals signed Pryor prior to the rule change, and Tomlin's newfound infatuation with dual role QBs.

datruth4life said...

Dale, love what you add to Steelers Nation Radio and You definitely balance out Labriola and Wolfe. I think this team has the makings to be pretty good. A lot of good young talent everywhere and a lot of competition for roster spots. With that schedule, this team is gonna need to be dynamite on special teams. That should serve the Heyward-Beys, T. Garvins and R. Ventrone's of the world very well.I do hope they can keep an extra rush OLB outside of the top four. I just don't think you can depend on Harrison to play a full season or for the light to suddenly come on for Jarvis and he suddenly figure out how to beat quality NFL LTs. I'd like to have one on the roster and a couple in the pipeline on the practice squad for next year. And what is all this attention that Kevin Fogg is receiving? Is he this year's OTA phenom Dri Archer?

Dale Lolley said...

Tomlin knew what was coming with that. He's on the competition committee. That was not a surprise to him.

I'm not on the Fogg bandwagon. But they have some intriguing young receivers.

And thanks Datruth

Anonymous said...


Love the insight...

Before the draft you were outspoken about hoping the Steelers did not draft Bud Dupree, mainly sighting poor film while at Kentucky. I'm in the camp that believes he has talents that can't be taught, and his issues while at Kentucky were do mainly to poor coaching and multiple position changes I believe the Steelers coaches will turn this guy into a superstar. Its the old Nature vs. Nurture argument, which I think can be missed while evaluating college prospects. Dontari Poe is another great example of terrible college tape and production, but had the physical gifts to be dominant, and he was in his rookie year.

I'll be curious to see through your eyes how he develops. Any insights along the way are appreciated.

Anonymous said...

All he knew was there was momentum for a change to the PAT. But not any one thing specifically. Many suggestions were kicked around, and Rich McKay whittled it down to 3. A proposal from the Eagles (2pt LOS moved to 1yd, plus allowing defenses to score), the Patriots (moving PAT to 15), and Tomlin's competition committee (leaving it the same, but adding the defensive score element). 4 options really, could've just decided to leave it alone. Either way, no reason to act until there was an official specific change. Eagles were one of the big pushers for change, and they, like everyone else, had every chance in the world to sign Tebow. They didn't make a move until it was official.

Even before this rule change I liked the idea of installing a small and separate package for the 3rd QB. A read/option type whatever. Something they practice a little bit. If you get to that 3rd QB on your depth chart, it'll probably be later in the season. And you're sunk. Like QB Killer Arians last year with the Cards. At least have an offense the guy can have immediate success executing and would be something other teams wouldn't be all that prepared for. And might offer potentially big value now in the 2 point conversion side. 3 years in and Jones still hasn't transitioned to anything anyone would feel remotely comfortable with going into a live game.

Jones is that shirt in the back of your closet with the tags still on that's too small, unflattering in every way, and doesn't look as good as it did online. But you spent good money on it and you've lost a little weight so you hang on to it. Even though you know you should've just had it delivered directly to Goodwill.

Anonymous said...

The defense still stinks.

Dale Lolley said...

Won't know if the defense stinks or not until they start playing real games. Plenty of new faces, young guys, who we don't know what to expect yet.
But they were high draft picks. IF they live up to their potential, the defense could be OK. Doesn't need to be a shutdown D. There's no such thing in the NFL today.

datruth4life said...

Dale, we've talked about numerous 2nd year players expected to make that jump from their rookie year like Shazier, Tuitt, Bryant, Archer and the rest of last year's draft class. My question is do you think Sean Spence can make a similar jump, since he basically missed his first two years due to injury and last year was the first year that he's actually played in a regular season NFL game. If it's true that the biggest leap is usually made between a player's first and 2nd year, then I think Spence could be included in that conversation since last year was essentially his rookie year on the field. I don't know how much explosiveness or speed he has lost due to the knee injury, but his college highlights were some of the most impressive I've seen of any LB playing sideline to sideline and making explosive hits at his size. Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

I don't necessarily think that will be the case with Spence. Players make that jump because they've been around, know what they're doing and what's expected of them. Spence already had been around. In reality, last year was like his second season.