Friday, June 8, 2012

OTAs To Minicamps: Steelers Offseason Bus Rolls On

As the final session of the OTAs ended Thursday we received a few comments from the various coaches as well clarification on some injury questions. Some of which was very needed information as we head into mandatory minicamps next week.

Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported that "Wes Saunders has been dealing with leg issues." He has a protective boot on his leg. Though which leg wasn't specified, Saunders' limitations may be worth noting considering because, per Jim Wexell of Steelers Digest and Steel City Insider, he has been a bit of a pill during OTAs because of always being in the training room with some form of boo boo. (Cue the Bill Parcells "she" reference.)

Let's hope, though, this isn't a serious or lingering issue. His suspension appeal has more weight now that Ebenezer Samuel, NFL writer for the NY Daily News, reported that "Giants tailback Andre Brown had his suspension lifted after hearing." Brown's suspension was also for Adderall.

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was on with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan of SiriusXM NFL for about 20 minutes Thursday and had a few things to say about, well, a few different things.
Colbert said that David DeCastro was "sheer luck" at No. 24. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Sean Spence, Colbert said, definitely has skills and will be good, but he "still has a long time to go until he is ready for prime-time." He said he likes Willie Colon at left guard and that now the left side is a power side, especially when DeCastro pulls from the right guard spot.

Colbert also said three things that weren't any surprise at all. On the whole, he mentioned that Steve McLendon has been a pleasant surprise, that Rashard Mendenhall is still likely to start season on the reserve PUP list, and that he's confident Mike Wallace will have a long term deal for 2012 season and that he stopped by for playbook. It's good news to hear that the GM is confident about one of the team's star players. I know I've been hard on him at times, but Wallace just wants what we all want: to get paid what he thinks he's worth. My real problem is with the advice seemingly being given him by his agent Bus Cook. So, we'll see if Colbert turns out to be a prognosticator.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger wore No. 78 on the last day of OTAs. When Mike Prisuta of the DVE Morning Show asked him why, he said it for Max Starks. Big Ben said, "The question is, is he healthy? I think he is, so I do think he will be a guy that, if we need to, we can get him back."

What was more encouraging, if not intriguing, was what Ben said of the offense: "I'm not saying I could call a game myself right now, but when (Haley) calls a play I know what's going on for the most part." Neither referring to it as the "Rosetta Stone" nor giving it a backhand compliment, but actually giving it an endorsement, is downright fanfare at this point from the not-so-punky QB known as Big Ben.

Steelers linebackers coach Keith Butler had the line of the day when he responded to why he turned down the defensive coordinator job elsewhere: "Mike's got pictures of me"

He wasn't done there. Butler also said he didn't go to Indy, in part, because they didn't have an established QB, because "that's the way coaches lose jobs." Can't argue that.

Butler, though, had a much more poignant comment regarding James Farrior: "I won't ever feel good about not having James Farrior. A guy with that leadership type of quality, and knowing the defense the way he knows it, it was easy for him to set the defense. Stuff that comes up -- and it always does -- on the field that you haven't covered as a coach, he can take care of." ~

I've blogged before that you can't draft leadership. Replacing a player isn't the same as plugging another person into his spot. So much more goes into what that departed player brought to the field than just 235 pounds of muscle. If drafting players purely for speed or measurements was a viable solution, the Oakland Raiders would dominate the NFL. So while succeeding a player is easy, replacing him is not.

We know why Jason Worilds had the cast on his wrist. He said it was wrist surgery and that it was just "a cleanup" and that he'll be out another month. Not sure as to whether he opens camp on the active PUP list or not.

Mark Kaboly wrote regarding the injury: "For you scoring at home, LB Jason Worilds injury is called "Scapholunate Diastasis. Or in layman's terms: Worilds had a ligament tear between two bones inside the wrist. Surgery was required to reconstruct the ligament."

Kaboly also informed us why Deebo has been missing OTAs: "Harrison has been dealing with an inflamed knee. Expected to take part in minicamp, though." I knew I was right in refusing to speculate.

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau is confident in the defense's young players. Look, Coach Dad has been in the NFL longer than I've been alive, so I'll just let him talk: "We have some great competition back there at left cornerback. It's gonna be younger....I like our young corners that we picked up last year and this year, it's gonna be interesting." ~

Though Antonio Brown busted out in his sophomore year with 2,048 all-purpose yards, wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery said this past week that Brown still has a problem: he needs to rest.

Montgomery, in a one-on-one interview with Bob Labriola on Steelers Live at 4, heaped a ton of praise on AB when asked to talk about each of the receivers. "I don't doubt any day when Antonio Brown wakes up that he's not trying to be the best in the world," said Montgomery. "That's exactly when he wakes up, he is trying to be the number one player in the world."

Montgomery went on to say that AB just needs to back off a little bit and rest. "For one, 84, or Antonio, as most people would know him as, sometimes you just have to work on him backing off a little bit, because he is a guy that wakes up at 6 am and starts working out, and doesn't stop working out until about 10 p.m.," said Montgomery. "So what he needs to understand, is from a professional standpoint, professional development sometimes happens through rest."

He can rest all he wants the end zone after he's scored on Ratbirds.