Pittsburgh sports fans have had a rough week. Well, let’s take a break from the Penguins and the Pirates and look at what is going on with the Steelers.
Ben Roethlisberger had minor knee surgery on Wednesday and there was an explosion on news coverage about it. All the major affiliates that either focus on or spare a little effort toward sports seemed to have an article posted. I even dipped into it and offered my opinion in a post on nice pick, Cowher (shameless plug time). The word out of the Steeler camp is that this is not a big deal. It’s like doing maintenance on your car, similar to changing the belts because they are starting to fray instead of waiting for the break down.
The police continue to track down Mike Adams’ attackers and issued an arrest warrant for the third suspect. Aaron Aupperlee from the Tribune Review quotes police as saying that the attack appears to be random and the would-be carjackers had no idea that Mike Adams was part of the Steelers.
Jarvis Jones and Le’Veon Bell, two of the Steelers high-profile draft picks, have a good chance of becoming starters, according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. Veteran players who have been down the rookie road are quoted in the article saying that the odds are against the rookies to be in a starting position at the beginning of the season. Larry Foote and Isaac Redman are both quoted as saying that most rookies are surprised at the difference in the speed of the game between college and the NFL. It sounds like realistic thinking to me. Even though these young whippersnappers may be a threat to the continued Steeler employment of Foote and Redman, I don’t think this is jealousy. We can all point to a college player who for some reason never really made the transition to the NFL. Right now only QBs come to mind, like Colt McCoy from the University of Hawaii, but I’m sure anyone reading this can come up with his or her own example. The odds are excellent that both Jarvis Jones and Le’Veon Bell will be successful in the NFL. The only real question is when will they be starters, I think.
Teresa Varley of Steelers.com posted an article about the veteran presence during the non-mandatory OTAs. She focuses on Brett Keisel and notes he has been at all eight sessions.
This is my team, I feel like,” said Keisel. “I think it’s important for me to be here. We have a lot of young defensive linemen. I want to show them that even an old guy can come out here and work, even an old guy can go in the weight room and work out after practice. If I can do it, they can do it.”
Varley also gives some props to Ike Taylor and Larry Foote for being present and trying to mentor the younger guys. This is the kind of thing that seemed to be missing last year. Perhaps it wasn’t being reported because the bigger story was Todd Haley and determining just how bad the rift between he and Ben Roethlisberger would be. Even if this was happening last year, it wasn’t enough. What’s different this year? Well, for one thing, it seems to be the united message coming out of the players. It seems to be more than the players parroting what the organization wants them to say. They all seem sincere about building a team atmosphere. If there is one thing that I wanted to see happen after last year, this is it. I love Keisel and the way he handles himself on and off the field. I know he had the one bonehead penalty last year and I thought that was uncharacteristic of him. I’m glad to see him take an active role with the newer/younger players. While I have to say that anything posted on the official website is likely sanctioned by the PR staff and may be trying to “wag the dog,” I still like to hear it. Maybe, just maybe, the Steelers understand what some of the fans were so upset about last year.
So, what do you think Steeler Nation? What did I get wrong? What did I miss? Be sure to let me know!