After his very first NFL OTA's; I think it's quite obvious that Spense is a bust... I mean he's not even penciled into the lineup. Wasted draft choice.
IMO ota's tell me nothing. There are nothing but gym class heros at this point. Until they strap it up and take a hit, I'm not excited
Looking Back At The Circumstances That Led To Kendrell Bell Starting As A Rookie
Monday, June 11th, 2012 by Dave Bryan
The excitement about third round draft pick Sean Spence is back in full swing after the comments made by Kevin Colbert, Dick LeBeau and Keith Butler following the OTA sessions that wrapped up last week. While it is great that the rookie seems to be picking things up so fast, it is pretty close to being out of the question that he will start alongside Lawrence Timmons when the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field against the Denver Broncos in week one.
Jeremy Hritz hit it on the head today when he posted that Spence will most likely serve as a special teams player first and foremost and a role player as they season progresses. Is it out of the question that he starts later on in the season? I would say no, but it all depends on how Larry Foote plays and if Stevenson Sylvester can make the jump in his third season.
While it is easy to point back to several years ago when Kendrell Bell did the unthinkable by starting week one after being drafted in the second round of the 2001 draft out of Georgia, the circumstances that led to that were a little different as Bell really didn't have any competition.
When the Steelers took the field for their final regular season game of the 2000 season against the San Diego Chargers, Levon Kirkland was the strong-inside linebacker and Earl Holmes was the weak-side inside linebacker. During the off-season that followed, Kirkland was released prior to the draft and the Steelers signed veteran free agent linebacker Mike Jones with hopes that he could assume the weak-side starting spot with Holmes shifting over to the strong-side.
The depth at that time inside for the Steelers was pretty much nonexistent as versatile linebacker Mike Vrabel had left to sign with the New England Patriots as an unrestricted free agent and John Fiala was mostly regarded as a special teams player. Everyone knew that the Steelers had to address the inside linebacker position in the 2001 draft and many in the organization were praying that Dan Morgan out of Miami would fall to the Steelers at the 16 spot. When the Carolina Panthers selected Morgan with the 11th overall selection, the Steelers traded down three spots with the New York Jets and drafted nose tackle Casey Hampton. In the second round is when they got their inside linebacker in the form of Bell.
Coming out of the 2001 draft the Steelers had a first year aging veteran on their team in Jones and the rookie Bell, who like Spence this year, really excelled early on. When the Steelers played the Atlanta Falcons in their first preseason game, Jones started alongside Holmes, but it was Bell that stole the show that night in relief with his two sacks and six tackles, one of which was for a loss, against the Falcons. Bell also added a tackle on special teams and was always one of the first players down field on the punt team. If you remember that game, you remember that Bell was the best player on the field that night.
Tim Lewis, the Steelers defensive coordinator at the time, had glowing comments about Bell after that game. "He's very explosive," Lewis said. "Did you see his sacks the other night? He was blocked by two guys on one and still made the play. It's almost like he doesn't know he's being blocked. He just runs right through. It's real interesting to see his power."
Lewis was not the only one to praise the play that night of Bell as head coach Bill Cowher was not shy with his praise of the rookie either. "I thought Kendrell Bell played exceptional," said Cowher. "I said it even before Friday night. The one thing you'll see about the kid can is that he can tackle."
Bell would go on to outplay Jones the rest of the preseason and even started the final preseason game against the Buffalo Bills alongside Holmes. It was an easy decision for the coaching staff to make because the only player on the roster that Bell had to beat out was Jones and he did so easily.
With Spence being regarded as a weak-side guy himself initially by the organization, and behind Timmons on the depth chart, you can see the difference in the two situations. Baring an injury, Foote will be the strong-side starting inside linebacker in week one against the Broncos with Timmons beside him. The Steelers have depth and experience inside when you throw Sylvester into the mix and this creates a much different set of circumstances than Bell faced as a rookie. For Spence to start week one, it would mean Timmons has been moved over to the strong-side because Foote is either injured or ineffective and it would also mean that organization does not think that Sylvester can play.
Rainey, Spence: Steelers Wildcards?
Posted by Steelblitz
June 24, 2012
The Steelers drafted Chris Rainey and Sean Spence in the 2012 NFL Draft. Rainey, an explosive offensive threat, and Spence, an instinctual inside linebacker, both are poised to help the team as rookies.
Spence will likely be used on special teams and in coverage packages on defense. The Steelers inside linebackers struggled to cover quick backs and tight ends in 2011. This is likely one of the reasons James Farrior was cut this offseason.
Spence was a standout at Miami and is known for his coverage ability and instincts. His speed and coverage skills will make him a secret-weapon of types for the defense. He can be used to cover backs and tight ends. Spence won’t be a full time player in 2012, but he will play an important role.
Rainey, on the other hand, was a returner, receiver and running back at Florida. Rumors have been circulating since he was drafted that he could be the Steelers version of Dexter McCluster. Todd Haley coached McCluster while with the Kansas City Chiefs. He used McCluster as a receiver, scat back, and he was also a returner for the team.
Rainey has his eyes set on the returner job labeling special teams as his number one priority. He will also have a shot at helping on offense as a back and receiver as a rookie.
Rainey and Spence will be rookies in 2012, but they could play very important roles. The Steelers want Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders to focus on receiver rather than returning kicks and the defense needs help against the leagues new-breed of tight ends.
Whether they see many plays, or just a few, Rainey and Spence have a shot at being the Steelers wild-cards on Offense and Defense in 2012.
Sean Spence is going to be the prototypical linebacker in todays NFL. Smaller, Quicker and Smarter. You have to make reads as a middle linebacker with todays misdirection style offenses and pass heaving attacks. I'm excited to see what the kid can do.
Woodley, Timmons, Spence, Harrison
I would like to see a year or two with that crew shutting it down.