Posted: Monday, August 6, 2012
by Mike Bires [EMAIL="email@example.com"]firstname.lastname@example.org[/EMAIL]
** It would be unfair to call David DeCastro the major camp underachiever. But for a guy who came in with so much hype, the former All-American guard from Stanford has not dazzled. Admittedly, his transition to the pro game hasn’t been easy.
But not to worry. Eventually, he’ll be fine.
** Keenan Lewis is holding on to the starting job at the left cornerback spot. But he’s being pushed by second-year pro Cortez Allen, the former Citadel star who seems to improve each day. The Steeler coaches love their three young corners: Lewis, Allen and Curtis Brown, another second-year pro.
** The more I see of Chris Rainey, the more I like this little scatback (who’s only 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds). His speed surely has intrigued offensive coordinator Todd Haley, who’s giving Rainey a lot of reps to show what he can do.
** Drew Butler could be the Steelers’ new punter.
It’s certainly alarming that Jeremy Kapinos is having back problems and coach Mike Tomlin admitting Sunday that he’s ”week to week.”
Butler is an undrafted free agent rookie out of Georgia who was a quality punter in college. He was a two-time All-American (2009 and 2010). In ’09, he won the Ray Guy Award, presented each year to the best punter in college football.
Let's see how Butler fares Thursday in Philly.
Steelers Smart To Start DeCastro and Adams On Thursday?
Aug 7th, 2012 by CraigSteelers
The Steelers Willie Colon’s body must hate football. Seriously, what other explanation is there as to why this guy continually gets hurt and hurt early in the football season. This time his body doesn’t even want to play the first preseason game against the Eagles.
On Tuesday, Mike Tomlin announced that the two rookie lineman – David DeCastro and Mike Adams – would start against the Eagles this Thursday night in the team’s first preseason game. And while that’s a fine option when you have a guy like Colon go down, is it a little early to be starting the two? Is it dicey to be starting them for the first time during the same game? They’ve had some growing pains during camp. If they struggle, will it hurt them more than help them?
On the other side of the coin, this could be the shining moment for these two. Questions about their readiness to play in the NFL with their late starts to OTA’s and mini-camps have been abundant. They could quickly quiet their critics and solidify their spots on the offensive line.
So what will it be Steeler Nation? DeCastro/Adams starting – good or potentially disastrous?
Are Steelers Right In Starting DeCastro And Adams In Same Game?
Yes - Some mistakes will be made but it will be a great lesson for them (77%, 17 Votes)
Yes - DeCastro and Adams are ready and will do just fine (23%, 5 Votes)
No - it could potentially be disastrous for both of them AND Big Ben (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 22
It's showtime for three Steelers rookies
Posted: Wednesday, August 8, 2012
By Mike Bires [EMAIL="email@example.com"]firstname.lastname@example.org[/EMAIL]
First-round draft pick David DeCastro hasn't impressed so far in training camp but the Steelers believe it's only a matter of time before the offensive lineman is a star at the NFL level.
More than anything, tonight’s game is about rookies. Sure, most of the Steelers’ regulars will play a series or two but they’ll be off the field before they hardly break a sweat. All they want to do is knock off some rust. The most exciting thing about the first preseason game is watching high-profile draft picks, and certainly that will be the case this evening when the Steelers play the Eagles in Philadelphia. Times pro football writer Mike Bires takes a look at three rookies to keep a close eye on:
The highly-touted first-round draft pick admittedly has struggled at times during camp. But no one in the organization is alarmed. Even if the former Stanford All-American doesn’t open the regular season as the starting right guard, it’s only a matter of time before he does take over for Ramon Foster.
“He’s doing awesome, we love DeCastro,” said center Maurkice Pouncey, a 2010 first-round pick who’s been starting since the regular-season opener of his rookie season. “He’s a physical player and I’m sure he’ll turn it on in a game. And we can’t wait to see it.”
DeCastro will start tonight at right guard because Foster is replacing the injured Willie Colon (ankle) at left guard. An impressive performance tonight could speed up the inevitable. DeCastro projects as a future star.
DeCastro told quarterback Ben Roethlisberger recently that he’s had some trouble with the physical aspect of his transition from college to pro. But he has the mental part down. He’s an intelligent, no-nonsense young man who knows his assignments.
“I just want to have fun, play the game and enjoy it,” DeCastro said of tonight’s game. “It’s a chance to hit someone other than your teammates. I just want to play physical and with a lot of effort.”
It won’t exactly be a baptism by fire for Adams, the Steelers’ second-round draft pick. Tonight when he starts at left tackle, he won’t have to line up against right defensive end Trent Cole, whose 68 career sacks have him third on the Eagles’ all-time list behind Reggie White (124) and Clyde Simmons (76). Cole, a two-time Pro Bowler, won’t play tonight as he rehabs a shoulder injury.
Still, the Steelers are excited to see how Adams handles himself in a game situation. The former Ohio State star has been a pleasant surprise during camp, but now he’s anxious to see how he fares under game conditions.
“When you get in a real atmosphere, it’s even more of an evaluation," Adams said. “My goal every day is just get better than I was the day before.”
Adams started camp on the second team behind veteran Trai Essex but he was recently moved up to first string. If he holds his own, Adams may keep the starting job even when Max Starks (knee) returns from the physically unable to perform list.
Of all the Steelers draft picks, no one has created such a buzz in camp as the scatback from Florida. At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Rainey may be small but he was an electrifying jitterbug in college and the Steelers are intrigued by his possibilities on the pro level.
Tonight, Rainey, a fifth-round pick, will first be used on punt and kickoff returns. Later in the game, he’ll get reps at running back.
“Everybody loves Chris right now,” said Pouncey, whose parents allowed Rainey to live with the family during his high school years in Lakeland, Fla. “When you have that type of player, a Darren Sproles type player, it’s awesome. I know Chris is excited and I know he’s ready.”
Sproles, who’s 5-6 and 190, plays running back and returns kicks for the New Orleans Saints. He accounted for 2,696 all-purpose yards and 10 TDs last year.
“I feel great,” Rainey said. “If I’m not getting ripped (by my coaches), I know I’m doing something right. I’m ready for anything (tonight). I’ll do everything they ask me to do. I just want to do my job.”