Well, here we are with training camp getting ready to start. I know it’s still pretty warm outside and it probably doesn’t feel like football season just yet, but I’m pumped that the teams is reporting to start playing some football! Here are some articles you might find interesting while you are waiting for everything to start up.
Tomlin Talks Training Camp
Bob Labriola, of Steelers.com, posted a Q&A with Mike Tomlin about what’s to come in the next month. He said he sees Jason Worilds and Cortez Allen as starters, at this point. Labriola asked what he expects out of Roethlisberger during camp and, based on my read, Tomlin talked more of the aspects of leadership than anything else. In true Tomlin-speak, he said that there was complex answer to a simple question and one where Roethlisberger needed to figure out what people need him to be at the time – an enforcer or a empathetic fellow-player. Tomlin also called training camp a team-building process. Now, particularly due to the turnover, this is what you want to hear from Tomlin. Maybe he said the same thing last year and I wasn’t paying attention because I didn’t think it would be a problem with the team. Now, don’t go thinking that this is anything but a typical Tomlin interview. He’s no Rex Ryan. He really didn’t say anything you wouldn’t expect him to say and he’s not giving away the playbook.
Will the Steelers Rebound?
Alan Robinson, of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, looks at the Steelers recent history (since 2000) of having a great season after a disappointing one. He notes that the Steelers are considered a “mystery team” going into the 2013 season because of the player turnover, particularly with James Harrison’s departure to the Bengals. Robinson quotes some sports analysts who feel that the Steelers will be motivated because their division rival, the Baltimore Ravens, won the Super Bowl. However, the real pressure is on the offense and Todd Haley according to the NFL Network’s Shaun O’Hara (formerly of the NY Giants). I don’t find anything outrageous in the article and agree that the offense has to become a more cohesive unit. However, I’m not willing to let the defense off the hook. Number one rating in 2012 aside, some defensive miscues made the difference in games and stopped the momentum on the Steelers offense. There’s enough “improvement” needed for all sides of the ball.
AFC North’s Top Players Under Age 25
Jaimeson Hensley, who blogs for ESPN about the AFC North, went through Mel Kiper Jr’s recent “Top Players Under the Age of 25″ list and culled out who in the AFC North was worthy of note. You have to have a paid subscription to get to the entire list, by the way. Of the three AFC North players who made the list, Maurkice Pouncey is the highest at Number 14. Hensley thinks the ranking is deserved and was surprised because inside lineman are often overlooked. The combination of Roethlisberger and Pouncey has worked out very well and you could see a chemistry with them. I hope there are no distractions this year for Pouncey and he can focus on football. I also hope Pouncey stays healthy – that could be the other issue. There really isn’t a sound back-up center plan for the Steelers. Maybe one will materialize in training camp.
SI’s Preseason Power Rankings
Chris Burke, who writes for SI’s Inside the NFL, posted a full list of preseason rankings, which can all be turned upside down by the end of September. But hey, we’re all looking for things to do before training camp starts, so let’s take a look. The Ravens are at Number 1 simply because they won the Super Bowl last year. Let’s be clear. Many of the people on the team now had nothing to do with last year’s win, but some did. Best reasoning I’ve heard yet – not. He ranks the Steelers at 16, which I believe is close to where Mike Florio of NBC’s Pro Football Talk ranked them. He cites the same old reasoning: This is probably low, but the defense lost a lot of people because of salary cap issues and they have to find a way to replace Mike Wallace. Oh My! Whatever will we do without our savior and bestest wide receiver ever – the dearly departed Mike Wallace? Yes, that is sarcasm. I am so tired of hearing the national writers go back to the same old thing. Have they looked at last years stats? Mike Wallace did make some great catches. He’s the same guy who also tuned out during some of the games. The real reason the Steelers should be ranked in the middle is because there are a lot of things up in the air but I’m not sure the wide receiver position is as in doubt as everyone thinks. The analysts need to go back and take a better look at some of the receptions from last year. I’m more concerned about the running game than Mike Wallace’s departure.
That’s it for today. Let us know what you think!