Last Wednesday, took some time out from an interesting and relaxing week at Pennsic War XXXVII in Slippery Rock to make what will likely be an annual pilgrimage to Latrobe to watch the Steelers go through paces, tuning up for the season.
From what I was able to glean, here are a few observations:
*I am comfortable with an OL that consists of, from LT to RT: Smith, Kemo, Hartwig, Simmons and Colon.
*Once again, Max Sucks is doing nothing to dispel the notion that he is largely a malcontent and that he will not work hard enough to work his way onto the Steelers starting lineup.
*I hope that the Steelers coaching brain trust will find a way to get as much work for Darnell Stapleton as possible. I am pretty sure that the odds are stacked against him, but Darnell is a hard worker and deserves a spot on this team somehow.
*The greatest breath of fresh air came in the form of sixth rounder Mike Humpal. Boy, is this kid a player. If he makes the squad, I have no doubt that he will be an immediate impact player on special teams.
*The draft class, by and large, looks pretty good. I like the fact that Hills is the primary understudy for Smith at LT, even though he looks lost at times. I believe that the Steelers drafted him with a very limited focus in mind...that he is the heir apparent to Smith at LT following this season.
*Sad to find out about Batch's injury, because he looked pretty good in his drills. I felt very comfortable with him as backup, even moreso than in the past couple years.
*The Steelers simply need to find a way to include their TEs into more of the offensive scheme. Heath Miller may well be the most underrated player in the NFL right now. He is certainly one of the most underutilized. And Spaeth may yet make me forget that I felt he should have been a fifth rounder instead of a third. The kid is good and I feel that he could step in ably if, bite my tongue, Miller goes down injured.
*Most importantly...the D is already in mid-season form and I really expect that Woodley is going to be All-Pro at the end of this season. The rest of the division will have a lot of work ahead of them trying to figure out an effective way to move the ball on the Steelers D. I wish them luck...because they'll all need it.
That's just a few of the things I saw. It was my first trip to Latrobe for camp and, I must say, that every NFL team should be so fortunate to train at such a great place. St. Vincent was a more than an inviting place and was clean and comfortable. Everybody was friendly and I had a great time watching the future SBXLIII laureates work out.
On top of all of that, the weather was 75 and sunny! No body could have asked for a better day!