The Steelers continue with training, injuries are piling up, and the first preseason game is this weekend. I am really curious what combinations of player they will use in the game. I won’t get to see much of it from where I am, but will try to listen to it or check it on the internet. Anyone planning to go? Won’t it be great to have Heinz Field rocking again? Here are some articles for today.
According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dick LeBeau is altering some of the defensive assignments to free up the outside linebackers to be able to go after the quarterbacks. Sacks were down last year as were interceptions. Brett Keisel spoke in favor of the change in the article. I have to agree that LeBeau does need to shake things up. I realize that the Steelers’ Defense was ranked number one last year and that is a success, but there were times you wondered who was on the field and what they prepared for. Did someone switch the defense out mid-game? Was the opponent adjusting and the Steelers plodding along on the same plan and not noticing the offense adjusted? Whatever the reason, I hope it works.
Steelers Prepared for Rule Change
Ray Fittipaldo, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, looked at how the new rule against leading with the crown of the helmet can affect the Steelers. Fittipaldo cites the rule:
The new rule that stipulates a ballcarrier cannot use the crown of his helmet to deliver a forcible blow to a defender if he is outside the tackle box and 3 yards beyond the line of scrimmage.”
According to Fittipaldo, Kirby Wilson, the Steelers running backs coach, has spent some time in the film room to see if the Steelers RB’s would have been called for the violation if the rule had been in place for the last few years. He didn’t find any instances where he thinks any Steeler RB would have received the penalty. An NFL official also stated that the penalty would have only been called five times in 2012. Of course, that is all based on hindsight. This game moves pretty fast and I wonder how many calls there will be this year when the refs have to judge something at real speed and not slowed down in the film room. I think they have proven that leading with the crown of the helmet is a bad thing, particularly if you make helmet to helmet contact at a high speed. But, it’s a dangerous game. I guess we’ll see where this goes.
Rookie WR Marcus Wheaton Learning Quickly
Alan Robinson, of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, notes that even though Marcus Wheaton missed the spring activities, he’s catching up quickly during training camps. Wheaton’s speed is impressing many, including Richard Mann, the WR’s coach. Maybe if the Steelers get Wheaton on the field and he impresses with his speed AND makes a catch we can stop hearing about how much the Steelers are going to miss Mike Wallace’s “explosive” speed and his ability to stretch the field. Gosh, I want the Steeler WRs to shut up these pundits and announcers who seem to think the Steelers only won games because of Wallace.
Cortez Allen Hopeful To Return Soon
Ralph Paulk, of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, wrote up some quotes from Cortez Allen who, while declining to give the specifics of his surgery, is staying positive about his recovery time table.
Of course it’s disappointing when you can’t do what you love. I pride myself on staying in good spirits. I’m doing my best to get back on the field.”
The cornerback position is taking quite a beating during training camp. I have to wonder if there is some different set of plays or something that no was prepared for. It seems to be more than bad luck, but it could be just that. I hope the Steelers get this out of the way during camp and the CB’s are healthy for the season.
Special Teams Coach a Fiery Addition
Will Graves of Associated Press notes that Danny Smith, the new Special Teams coach has lost his voice during training camp. He still manages to yell during the practices, but saves his voice when speaking to anyone else. The article paints Smith as a passionate, outgoing, and loud coach. Sounds like he is 180 different from Mike Tomlin, but maybe not. He was Tomlin’s pick for the job two years ago but Washington wouldn’t let the Steelers interview him. So, maybe this is just what Tomlin is looking for.
Alan Robinson and Mark Kaboly contributed to the Trib’s Steelers Notebook. There are some notes about how Mike Adams is lined up in a more natural position and details of Curtis Brown’s injury – a twisted ankle.
Tweet of the Day
Trey Wingo, host of NFL Live on ESPN, likes the bumblebee throwbacks. Merrill Hoge, former Steeler running back, isn’t a fan of the uniform.
— trey wingo (@wingoz) August 5, 2013
It seems you either love this uniform or you hate it. Which side are you on?
That’s it for today. Have a great one Steeler Nation!