So I was in Pittsburgh for the week and couldn't resist going back to training camp every day this week. So I've got some more updates for you. The days are blending together a bit, but I'll try to remember what I saw the last few days.
1. Shark looks like he can play CB in the nickle. The reports that he lacks coverage ability are hogwash. He got a lot of snaps covering the slot receiver in the nickle and looked great. I think he's the shorter and more athletic version of Carnell Lake. Lake is having an impact on the entire secondary and some young guys like Golden and Thomas seem to be developing quickly. Lake has the personality of Dick Lebeau on the field. I still think he could surprise everyone and be the eventual successor over Butler. I know it's a long shot.
2. Golden has taken a ton of snaps with the first team D in place of Clark and they aren't missing a beat with him back there. I think he's actually better in coverage.
3. Overall the team is deep at nearly every position except the OLine. There's a lot of backups that have starter potential. This might be the deepest team the Steelers have had. There's a ton of youth, but also a boatload of talent all over the place.
4. The D is especially stacked. I think we could field 2 starting D's with our players and be better than most Ds in the league. I think the turnovers are coming.
5. Speaking of turnovers, Josh Victorian makes more plays on balls than any CB on the roster. He's had a couple INTs in practice. Thomas seems to gets his hands on a lot of balls too. And when he doesn't he seems to be pushing around a WR.
6. I can kinda see Haley's offense starting to gel. I think Ben has his best season. He looks fantastic in practice. He almost never misses a throw. Including tossing balls in garbage cans which seems to be popular. All the QBs were throwing the one night, but Ben was the only one hitting the bucket. There was a run of everyone hitting the bucket and then Haley threw and missed it by what seemed to be 10 yards. Stupid entertainment, but that had the crowd cheering almost more than anything.
7. The one bigger cheer was when Sushi kicked a 60 yard FG in practice. It cleared the post by about 10 yards. I didn't think he could kick that far. But I did notice when he kicked a 50, 55, and the 60 yarder in a row, his kicks were line drives that would have probably gotten blocked in a game. I know Sushi is automatic inside 40, but Tomlin loves to trot out the kicker for 50+ FGs all the time. Cutting Hrapmann is a mistake imho for the second straight year.
8. Moorman should be a lock for the P job. I watched him and Butler kick 25-50 punts apiece right next to one another on the second field on Wed night. I was watching from the stands around the 50 yard line. Moorman's hang time is way better. It's not even close. From the angle I had earlier in the week, all I could see was Moorman's ball staying in the air longer. But from my view Wed night, I could see Moorman consistently kicking 10-15 feet over the camera man at mid field while Butler was consistently kicking 5-10 feet under.
9. I think the WRs are decided after the last 2 practices. Ben was throwing patterns to the same 5 guys and the other WRs were working with the other QBs. Ben's 5 were AB, Manny, Cotch, Wheat, and JBrown. I think these are finalized. The only wildcard I could see is if they keep Dunn as a returner. I feel bad for Woods. The kid looks legit. If I were any other team, I'd jump on him. I have no idea how he was a #3 WR in college. He's really polished.
10. We're loaded at the LB position. I have no idea which guys we'll keep as the backup ILBs. They all look really good.
11. The OLine and DLine are tough to gauge when they aren't hitting. But it looks like Woods is the next guy that's making a major step forward. I wonder if we'll even keep Ta'Amu as a 3rd string NT? Although he's significantly bigger than any of the linemen.
12. I still worry about the OLine. Adams @ LT, Gilby anywhere, and Foster all seem to have their issues. Adams doesn't seem quick enough as a LT. Gilby makes me nervous all over the place. And Foster is a big and powerful man, but a little slow. I love Adams at RT. I think Beachum should be starting somewhere. And maybe we should try and move Gilby inside to G. Although it seems we might be looking at Whimper as more of a G.
13. The WRs are gonna be better. Sanders wasn't practicing last week, but this week he looked like the best WR on the team. If he's around in your fantasy draft late, I'd snag him. He looks like he's gonna get all the deep looks. He's not as fast as Wally, but he's a better route runner and deceptive and just as effective at getting deep as Wally or Nate Washington. But he's got better hands. This is really his first full offseason and I think he's gonna breakout amongst the group. Plus he just looks better on the outside and Cotch and Wheaton both look really good in the slot. It's gonna be interesting because I think I've seen all the guys play the X, Y, and Z.
14. Redman got a concussion from Foote in the first play either Wed or Thurs. Then Bell got hurt tripping over some grass shortly after a la Amos Zeroue. Seems like our top 3 RBs are injury prone or something. And they weren't even in full pads and really hitting. Howling might be the most durable back of the group. And I was watching him run from the endzone coming toward me and you literally cannot see him behind the OLine. It made me think of Emmitt Smith in Dallas a bit. Warrick Dunn was a feature back for a small guy. He managed to never take a clean hit because he was so shifty. I think you might be able to make a case for Howling getting more carries. And with his speed and open field running, he's a lot more dangerous than the others.
15. Paulson and Johnson catch a lot of balls during practice. I think both guys are tough to cover. It kinda shows Ben is evolving throwing to them quickly. He really is getting rid of the ball much faster. And I'm not sure if it's a fluke, but he's been looking Tom Brady accurate in practice.
16. The DBs were catching passes before the one practice. Ike didn't drop anything. But then I'd watch Ike when he was covering someone and he often wouldn't even put his hands up for a ball that went right by his head. He needs a sports psychiatrist. He can actually catch. I watched him catch everything warming up. His lack of INTs in mental, not physical imho.
17. The ST coach is the loudest guy on the field. You can hear everything he says even when he's 3 practice fields away from where you are standing.
18. The free ice cream was a nice touch. I don't remember it in years past. But it was great on such muggy days. The temp was relatively cool this week, but the humidity was high for every practice.
I'm sure there's a bunch of stuff I forgot. I'll post more if I can remember. I shoulda taken notes or something. Maybe next year.