Today is the final practice for the off season. The next time the Steelers get together, officially as a team, will be in Latrobe in late July. The articles for today focus mostly on defensive players and how things look like they will shape up.
Laying the Foundation:
Teresa Varley, of Steelers.com, posted an article about how the Steelers are putting together their foundation in for the 2013 season. Mike Tomlin continues to baffle reporters with his platitudes:
Our goals have been simple and they are to lay a foundation for our football team here in 2013,” said Tomlin. “Obviously, our goals are what they are and that is to be World Champions. I think we’ve done a nice job in terms of laying a foundation, individually and collectively, towards that goal.”
These sound bites are all well and good, but I have to ask. Do you need to lay a foundation for a team after you have been the head coach for several years? Isn’t that something that you do when you change the system and then build from there? Ok, maybe when you have enough significant turn-over you rebuild. I don’t know about you, but Tomlin is talking like it is a rebuilding year.
Jarvis Jones’ Chances to Be a Starter
Ed Bouchette, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, posted an article on Jarvis Jones, who you probably remember was the Steelers first draft pick in 2013. Bouchette reminds us that odds could be against Jones to get the starting position:
No rookie has won a starting defensive job since, not Troy Polamalu, not Lawrence Timmons or LaMarr Woodley, and neither of their first-round picks at defensive end, Ziggy Hood nor Cameron Heyward.:
Keith Butler, the defensive linebacker coach, notes that Jones is picking up things up pretty well, but still has a lot to learn.
Alan Robinson, of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, also posted an article about Jarvis Jones. Robinson quotes Butler about what Jones needs to adjust from his college play:
In college, he kind of free lanced a little bit, and we’re a little more disciplined in what we ask them to do and the techniques we ask them to use in the passing game,” Butler said. “All he did (at Georgia) was drop straight back and look at the quarterback. We’re asking him to do a lot of different things in terms of pass coverage, and that’s not one of them. We’ve got to get him out of that habit, and he’s willing to get out of that habit.”
I know that being the first round draft pick comes with a lot of expectations, but there is such a big transition between the college and the NFL. However, if the rate of injury is similar to last year’s rate, then the Steelers will probably end up starting Jones at some point this season. The Steelers seem to be taking steps to try to minimize injury, but I think there are some you just can’t plan for. Certainly, you would expect conditioning to help with the hamstring injuries, but if someone lands on your ankle, you’ll be on the sideline. Let’s hope for a lower injury rate this year.
Woodley’s Good Physical Shape:
Bouchette also quotes Butler that he is pleased with LaMarr Woodley’s physical conditioning at the start of the training camps this year. He said that Woodley is “prideful” and knows he needs to play at a high level to fulfill his contract. I know Woodley took a lot of flack last year for his physical conditioning and not being on the field due to injury. Personally, I would love to see a few more side-kicks out of Woodley this year. I’m rooting for him, but he probably has a short leash this year. If this year doesn’t go well, he probably will be out of the Black and Gold.
Polamalu’s Passion Remains:
Alan Robinson notes the time and effort Troy Polamalu put in for his off season physical training aimed at being competitive and healthy through the entire football season this year. Polamalu’s passion to contribute at a high level has never been in question. He won’t speculate on how much longer he might play and I don’t blame. While you have to look ahead to be able to posture yourself for a successful future, you can’t ignore the now. Everyone wants Polamalu on the field with his signature bursts of speed confounding quarterbacks and wide receivers alike. He’s another veteran that I’m pulling for this year. I like how he portrays himself both on the field and off the field and his style of play is a signature for the Steelers.
Speaking of Polamalu, he is featured in ESPN’s magazine about athletes and their approaches to managing their huge salaries. Polamalu and his family now have an unconventional approach to managing their finances, but it appears to be working for them. It’s an interesting read.
What did I get wrong or miss?
That’s it for today. Chime in and add your opinion. Steeler Nation has some of the most well-informed fans. We welcome what you have to say because we all love talking about our Steelers!