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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Steelers complete first day in pads

The pads were popping at Steelers' practice on Wednesday as the team was in pads for the first time this year.

Highlighting that was a backs-on-backers session that was lively as usual.

As the players and staff came down the field, head coach Mike Tomlin had some words for linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

"Law Dog, you know I ain't going to feed you nothing but 26," Tomlin said, referring to running back Le'Veon Bell.

Tomlin lied a bit, as Timmons did get some reps with other players. But those two kicked things off with Timmons winning the one-on-one battle, setting the tone for the drill.

Jarvis Jones was up next and beat Will Johnson to the QB. Then, Vince Williams absolutely destroyed DeAngelo Williams on back-to-back attempts, putting him flat on his back the second time.

Tomlin began letting all the offensive players know who was coming after that, not that it mattered in most cases. Two defenders line up at the line of scrimmage and a coach typically points to the one rushing - unbeknownst to the offensive player.

That was out the window today.

The defensive stars were Williams, who absolutely brings it on every play, Jarvis Jones, who showed off some good power and agility and, of course, Timmons.

Offensively, young running backs Cameron Stingily and Roosevelt Nix were consistent, while Ross Sheurerman drew praise from Tomlin later on.

Stingily did well in a pair of reps against Ryan Shazier, prompting Tomlin to say after the first one, "Yes sir, I like that. Let's make sure it was no fluke."

After struggling early, Shuererman completely stoned Jordan Zumwalt the next time. In their rubber match, he not only beat Zumwalt, he drove him to the ground and showed plenty of fight.

"You're starting to figure it out and it didn't take all day," Tomlin said.

Williams, meanwhile, had a tough go of it, though he did stand Sean Spence up at one point. When Spence asked for a rematch, Williams declined, saying he had gotten his rep.

@ The only bad thing about the drill this time was that young outside linebackers Bud Dupree and Anthony Chickillo stayed on the other end working  on their pass rush against the offensive linemen.

We'll get to see them in the drill later on in camp.

@ The defense carried its strong day into the team 11-on-11 drill after that, as Arthur Moats droppd Williams for a loss after getting off a block from Jesse James.

William Gay followed that up by taking  down Josh Harris in the backfield.

DeAngelo Williams ripped off a long run around right end on his third carry, but Vince Williams set things right for the defense again by blowing up the center on the next play at the snap and forcing a fumble by Tajh Boyd.

Boyd was having some trouble handling snaps today but he is throwing the ball reasonably well.

Anthony Chickillo then made a nice play on Scheurerman to finish things off in the backfield.

@ The No. 2 offensive line unit today was, from left to right, Alejandro Villanueva, Chris Hubbard, Reese Dismukes, Miles Dieffenbach and Mitchell Van Dyk.

Rookie B.J. Finney left early with heat-related issues, though tight end Cam Clear was back.

@ Defensive coordinator Keith Butler confirmed today on Steelers Nation Radio what I had reported earlier in the week. The Steelers will be playing a lot more Cover-2 in their secondary this season.


Anonymous said...

How do you think the back injury is going to hurt Mike Adams this year? He is one player who needed a good camp.

Wonder if they bring in another LT off the street.

datruth4life said...

Dale, winners and losers today? Also, do you think LT Anthony Collins or Cherilus might be making a visit to the Steelers soon with the injury to Adams?

How do you think Villanueva did today?

Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff, thanks Dale.

I think it's pretty obvious DeAngelo Williams is cooked, I'm nervous about him doing anything this season, even as an eventual backup.

Dale Lolley said...

I'm not worried about Williams. There is no cutting in that drill. A vet would cut block.

I would at least consider bringing in a vet OT

James said...

I don't understand the need to bring in another "starting" caliber LT. The o-line is set for the first time in years. Let the young back-ups get the reps in preseason and deal with any injuries later on. The one thing this team is missing is a true #1 CB, but there are not that many out there. Thanks Dale for all the updates!!!!

marc said...

i think bringing in a vet OT at this point would be for depth, competition, and insurance in case of injury in light of Adams' current issues. nothing wrong with that.

i am most excited to see how much mccullers improves over last year. if he reaches starting caliber play, to go along with the current group, would be a huge plus for the defense. the dline will wreak havoc and present a lot of opportunities for the LB's and DB's, imo. i would go so far as to say that mccullers and/or cortez allen are my 2 "most important player" for training camp this year.

Qwikdoc said...

I know it's only one day in pads but reading your column makes it sound like Vince Williams is ready to assert himself and make it hard for Butler to keep him on the sidelines. That's a nice problem to have I guess, but what do they do if he turns out to be the most productive ILB in camp? Do they sit Shazier? Are they going to have enough different packages that there will be plenty of snaps for both?

Dale Lolley said...

I think if Shazier is healthy, he plays. But Vince is asserting himself. Different styles of player.

datruth4life said...

Dale, do you think a switch to more of a Cover 2 D in the secondary will help this D? Looking at the personnel that this D currently has, I think that it will. With the offense this team has, I think anything that you can do on defense to try and limit big plays will help. I think CBs like Allen, Gay, Golson, Blake, and Grant play the ball a lot better coming forward than turning and running and trying to find the ball. Mitchell had his best season playing in a Cover 2 D and this will also allow Shamarko to read the action, play the ball or come up and lay the boom.

Tunch mentioned this morning that if the Steelers do play more Cover 2, then it will be up to the front seven to stop the run without dropping a safety in the box. He and Wolfe said it will be easier to do this if you have your front 7 responsible for one gap instead of two, which sounds like what Butlter has been hinting at all along for his DL.

Moving forward, I think Dupree and Chickilo can play DE in a 4-man front with their hand on the ground. The only square peg in that round hole would appear to be Jarvis Jones. I think it's very smart for Tomlin and Butler to run a defense that fits their current personnel the best and will allow younger players to get on the field sooner.