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Training Camp - Five Things


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Alright, so finally back to being able to talk actual football after the deal period. What 5 things are you looking forward to -- good or bad -- in TC?

1) Matt Canada's Offense:
I didn't like Fichtner from his start not being able to pick up a first down in the first series of the game until week 5 in 2018. We have relied heavily on players making plays the last 3 years. I at least feel confidence that we have an OC who can make a few things happen on his own. No clue how he will be as an NFL play caller, but the bar is pretty low in Pittsburgh. I like our pieces for his offense, but does Ben buy in? Do we have a weird two offense system where you can clearly tell Ben's desire from Canada's calls? 

2) Chuks:
Even before the signing of Ingram, I think he was going to have his hands full in camp. Can he survive and be just even adequate? I think we are wait and see at this position until they know if Chuks can handle LT. We should know early....he is either in a great position to earn a big pay day or we are shopping via trade or FA. 

3) Cornerback:
Okay, I'll be honest....Im actually excited here. I trust Sutton and Haden and Minkah makes a lot of things better. No, we don't have nickel or dime figured out but we have a bunch of options and to me this is going to be a ruthless battle to follow in camp and preseason. Pierre, Layne, and Maulet all have some level of experience in the NFL at CB. Brooks, Maulet, and Wade fit the S role of nickel (hey, Hilton) and Stiner and Norwood follow more of a Sutton feel. Then guys like Shakur Brown, who fell of draft boards and Gilber who was a good player and then the injury bug caught him. It may not end pretty, this may be a buy situation later....but theres a lot of names vying for position. Should be fun. 

4) Devin Bush:
Man, do I wanna see this guy flying around. I know we won't see a ton during camp...but I'm ready to see a player that took a 1st swap, 2nd and a 3rd to get. Coming into his third year, its time to light it up...and if he does, it's going to make a lot of things on this defense click. 

5: Pat Freiermuth:
I loved him at PSU, despite having awful QB play and awful play callers. I think he has a chance to be a big time player in the league. Unfortunately, TE's tend to come around slow. And double unfortunately, Eric Ebron is our starting TE. Pat helps a blocker on the edge, a move guy in Canada's offense, a receiver in the Heath mold that doesn't have to be JuJu (or Switzer) for Ben, and an after the catch seam guy. If he can become a full time guy quickly, I really like the pieces of this offense from a skill position standpoint. If he can't, we seem way more like a 4 wide team with a running back. Flexibility to be in multi-sets and be multi-function in run or pass IMO rests of how quickly Pat is up to the task. 

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1 - The offensive line development: 

To me it's not about the individual players on the line.  It's more about the cohesion between the unit than it is about any one player.  So I want to see them as a unit in early pre-season games.  Are they coming together?  Do they communicate well?  Who's at center?  How's the communication between Ben and the line?

2 - The secondary as a whole:

Not just what's going on with the CB position.  How does Minkah get moved around?  What impact does Edmunds playing for a contract have?  What's the communication like?  What's the movement around like?

3 - Spillane VS Williams:

I'm interested what goes on here.  I think Spillane proved his worth last year, but Williams has long been a steady rock in that Buck spot on the defense.  I like more what Spillane brings on the athletic and coverage side.  But Williams was so much better at being in the right place at the right time.  Both have called the defense and made adjustments.  

4 - WR's in general:

Sounds like more Juju on the outside this year.  I'm interested in how that impacts the rotations and player movements.  I've long contended that DJ in the slot would be good for him, and having Juju and Claypool outside would open up things more for DJ in the middle.  I think Frieirmuth is going to play some into the downfield passing game than we think as a deep seam guy.  So how do you get all these guys touches AND Washington along with McCloud.  Not to mention getting Najee Harris and Anthony McFarland catches out of the backfield.

5 - What's the surprise training camp trade:

We have it every year.  What's going to be the move this year that catches us all off guard.  It's typically not a starter but rather a depth guy who will play infrequently anyways.  I'd love to dream of Gilmore, but that's not gonna happen.  So I'm interested in seeing what group shows they think can use a little extra push.  They clearly took care of one spot with Ingram.  What's that leave?  CB, OL, S?  Especially S with them sniffing around Hooker.

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That's a really good 5 @warfelg

2 hours ago, warfelg said:

To me it's not about the individual players on the line.  It's more about the cohesion between the unit than it is about any one player. 

100% agree. This is so often overlooked. I do kinda like that we seem to have 4 out of 5 positions on the OL set immediately, with Center being the outlier. But that gives all of camp and pre-season for the OL to start to gel, instead of different guys coming in and out of the starting lineup. Im assuming its going to take a quarter of the season to get settled, but hopefully we have the same 5 able to work together with each other for the next 2-3 months. 

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On 7/20/2021 at 9:03 AM, warfelg said:

3 - Spillane VS Williams:

I'm interested what goes on here.  I think Spillane proved his worth last year, but Williams has long been a steady rock in that Buck spot on the defense.  I like more what Spillane brings on the athletic and coverage side.  But Williams was so much better at being in the right place at the right time.  Both have called the defense and made adjustments.  

Vince retired. So never mind on this. 

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I must say at times the Steelers roster and guys they let go originally was like what the hell?

 

But now looking at it losing Dupree you replace with Melvin Ingram who is not super expensive and if he does not work out they still got Highsmith.  Then they lose Vince Williams today but have Bush coming back obviously and Spillane then added Buddy Johnson who has potential and as backup developmental LBs they got Watson and Roche through the draft at a very reasonable cost and both could be great fits in a 3/4.

 

Not to mention Calvin Taylor who I think could be a steal at DE and is a young guy and Loudermilk who could be a great fit and is a big strong dude.  

 

Then the OL which looked awful but got a hell of a deal getting Trai Turner who on paper could be a great pickup but will see how he plays, still great considering without him what Collins would have started at OG?  Chaz Green is a decent pickup also for some depth and Dan Moore Jr I think has a lot of ability and might start if Banner cannot hold up.  The rookie Green I think would have been better off at guard but could be decent at center.  They did lose to big time talents and one of them is a HOF center, so they will not be replaced with Pro Bowl level players but at least they filled the needs some what so far.

Oh and adding Najee Harris the best RB in the draft and Freiermuth who could be a steal at TE and a hell of a weapon.

 

They have really done a great job this off season and really turned it around with some surprisingly decent signings to fill gaps.  Now granted if Bush gets hurt again or Claypool or someone goes down who knows what happens but they filled some gaps for sure.  

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8 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

I actually think Dan Moore is insurance for Chuks. I think there’s a chance Moore is our starting LT in 2 years.

Yea they know Chuks is a FA and could be gone after 21. They’ll give him a year to develop and then they go into next offseason knowing if he’s their guy or not. I’m expecting a decent sized FA added to the OL next year.

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1. Spillane vs Buddy Johnson is a battle that will last after training camp and possibly until mid season. I'm very high on Buddy and think he can be better than Spillane and even Bush.

2. Brooks vs Maulet will be an interesting battle. Neither guy is a blazer but both are solid run defenders. Brooks was a monster around the LoS while at Maryland. The game vs Ohio St, he basically was playing LB and didn't seem overmatched. I have a hard time thinking Brooks can cover 1 on 1 with no Safety over the top.

3. Offensive line. Will they be nasty and stay on their blocks? Will Chuks become more assertive and take charge or will he lose his job? Interior OL should be powerful at the PoA.

 

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5 hours ago, MOSteelers56 said:

Boy, I hope you’re wrong about this one. If we gave up all those picks for a guy that gets outplayed by a mid rounder. 

Bush hasn't had that breakout game to me. People rave about him but guys like Timmins were more impactful. I just don't want Bush to be the new Sean Spence.

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Pretty small sample size for Bush. He has made a decent amount of splash plays, so I don’t really worry about him looking like Sean Spence. 

But I do agree…hopefully he breaks out this year and enters into a pro bowl conversation. Otherwise that trades gonna look rough headed into the decision year. 

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Eric Ebron is probably my most hated Steeler. From his stupid tweet last year about covid and making Super Bowl reservations to his complete unwillingness to block anyone and his unreliability even as a pass catcher, I just can't stand him.

This year he says he has a new attitude about blocking. Yea, dude - you suddenly decided to change your stripes. Sure thing. I hope the rookie TE takes your job and you end up a cap casualty. I'd rather have Zach Gentry on the field than you.

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On 7/26/2021 at 7:18 PM, armsteeld said:

Bush hasn't had that breakout game to me. People rave about him but guys like Timmins were more impactful. I just don't want Bush to be the new Sean Spence.

I agree Bush hasnt really broken out, but Timmons was so hit or miss and took a few years before he really broke out....although they kept moving him around early on.

Bush is far better than Sean Spence though.   Bush is a capable starter, even if only solid.   Spence was never starter caliber. 

Hopefully Bush improves, but even if he never becomes a standalone star, he is at least a good tandem ILB if we can get another quality guy next to him.

Also, lets not forget it took time for Shazier to become a really good ILB.   Early on he also had trouble shedding and took poor angles....but he was a smarter player than Bush from the get go.

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Arguing about Sean Spence is a waste of time. Bush is obviously better than anything Spence put on tape in his brief career, but it aint really a fair comparison when Spence suffered that brutal knee injury in the preseason of his rookie year.

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