So after a 4+ hour drive to Latrobe early Saturday morning, “Steelerboy” and I drove through the beautiful campus of St. Vincent’s to sit through 2 hours of Steelers practice. Â Opening weekend means lots of stretching and basic runs but not a lot of hard hitting – in fact, not even in full pads.
Never the less, a few observations:
- There will no doubt be a full-on fight for that #3 WR position. Sweed, rookie Mike Wallace and veteran Shaun McDonald all looked like they are ready to play and win. Â While I was there, Limas didn’t drop a ball, and even a few were thrown in “tight” coverage – as tight as you can get wthout full contact. Â Clearly Hines is mentoring the younger WR’s. Â He spent a lot of time with Limas on day 1 but didn’t dress on day 2.
- Ziggy is ready to roll. I was informed that he stayed in Pittsburgh after OTA’s to train. Â He’s been working extremely hard and has been really focused. Â I expect to see him get some reps and don’t be surprised if he sees playing time once the season starts. Â The ROI on Ziggy will pay off, no doubt.
- William Gay should have the corner opposite Ike nailed down. Â Don’t forget he had a lot of playing time last year and he looks ready to go this year. Â However, following up in 3rd CB spot will likely be rookie Keenan Lewis.
- The O-line didn’t look terrible, though without full pads, it’s hard to really say they have improved substantially. Â And no one was calling penalties – so Willie Colon might have got by this time.
- Jeff Reed and Daniel Sepulveda both looked great. Â It’s good to see Sepulveda back and kicking well. Â He punted one a good 50+ yards day two.
- The clear fan favorite is Ben. Â As soon as he got anywhere near the field, the crowd erupted – both days. Day 1 he signed autographs after practice…and hey Ben if you read this, I know my kid is tall, but he’s only 13 and he was really bummed you didn’t sign his terrible towel. Â AND by the way the guy who pushed past had a jersey with tags still on it – yet you signed that and it is probably already on eBay. Â Next time can you do something for my kid??
The one thing I have to comment on is Coach Tomlin’s passion and commitment. Â It was about 90 degrees out there and he came out day one in all black long-sleeves and sweats.
If the players have to withstand high levels of heat, he’s right there with them. Â He moved between the fields for the first hour each day focusing time with both the offense and the defense.
I said it in a post before, but I believe he has a great ability to keep the team focused. Â While he’s not much older, he knows when to be friend and when to be mentor and it’s clear that everyone from players to front office staff highly respect Coach. Â If there’s one difference between the team after SBXL and this time, it’s him.
Overall, great weekend in Latrobe. Other than being rained out just one hour into practice on day 2 we had beautiful weather and had a great time. Nothing beats foorball season. I’m now really anxious for it to get underway.
Let’s Go Steelers.