The first week of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers is now in the books with week two set to begin on Tuesday. It is now time to recap some things that took place in week one both on and off the field. Feel free to add your own observations from the first week in the comments.
Where\’s Wallace? – One week down and Mike Wallace has not budged. I figured he might miss the first few days, but with the doors and windows all bolted shut now after Kevin Colbert proclaimed they would not trade him, there are no more excuses for him to not come in and sign his tender and get to work. I understand his side of things and give him a pass for missing week one, as he wanted to make one last point as to how unhappy he is. Should he not report by Tuesday, I will no longer be able to defend his actions. I am still pretty confident he will get a long term deal before the start of the season if he reports this week.
Extension City For Brown – Extending Antonio Brown this offseason was not overly shocking, but getting it done at the start of camp was. I do not believe they gave Brown money earmarked for Wallace though. If extending Brown was in the plans all along, it was done early to send Wallace a message. The press conference that followed was also a message. The Brown extension only used up $1.7 million in cap room and it was a good deal for both sides as the signing bonus needed to lock up Brown for six seasons was just $8.5 million. There is still cap room to get a deal done with Wallace, but he has to sign that tender first before anything happens.
PUP For Harrison & Worilds – If you have been following along here, you know this did not surprise me. James Harrison will need to be spelled this year and the player that is supposed to do the spelling is Jason Worilds. I expect both to miss the first preseason and would not be shocked if both miss the second as well. Mike Tomlin has to make sure that both are 100% by week 1, but at the same time, they both need some action in the preseason. I expect another week on PUP for both.
Carter & Robinson Do Work – If there is a silver lining to both Harrison and Worilds being on PUP to start camp, it is the fact that the Steelers will now get a long look at both Chris Carter and undrafted free agent Adrian Robinson. Carter has beefed up and gotten stronger according to reports and by all accounts has had a good beginning of camp. Robinson is player I have pegged as making the practice squad, and he too is reportedly off to a good start. I can\’t wait to see both in the preseason.
Wide Open 5th Spot – The fifth wide receiver spot is wide open right now. Rookie Toney Clemons appears to have had a few drops thus far and this follows a very quiet offseason where we hardly heard his name in practice reports. Derrick Williams, Tyler Beiler and Marquis Maze all remain alive for this spot in my opinion. Special teams play could be huge in this battle and hopefully one of them separates soon.
Down Goes Keenan – The outside spot opposite Ike Taylor has to be taken away from Keenan Lewis in camp and the preseason. Lewis suffered a sprained AC joint in a shoulder on Sunday so that means second year players Cortez Allen and Curtis Brown will get plenty of reps now to stake their claim to the spot. I have been on the Allen bandwagon for some time now and Lewis has to get back quickly to hold him off in my opinion. The first preseason game should give us an idea of where the young cornerbacks are at in the progress.
Healthy Left Colon – By all accounts Willie Colon has taken to the left guard spot like a fish to water. Many know I have been a very long advocate of him kicking inside and now the interior of this offensive line has a very promising look to it. Colon announced his presence with authority by planting linebacker Lawrence Timmons on the ground during the first padded practice. Tomlin says he is just mad at life, so I hope life continues to anger him.
Ferrari\’s Can\’t Pull Boats – Tomlin held rookie running back Chris Rainey out of the backs on backers drill for a good reason. Rainey is an exciting player, but if he can\’t cut linebackers, he can\’t play that game. Rainey is an exciting player for sure and a near lock to make the roster. That said, he does come with limitations with one of them being pass protection.
Quiet For Woods & Bryant – Not much has been reported about defensive ends Al Woods and Corbin Bryant, both of whom are likely fighting for the same spot on the 53 man roster. The media has not focused in on either thus far, so we likely will have to wait for the first preseason game to see if one is ahead of the other, or if the battle is a dead heat. It also seems like they aren\’t getting pushed from behind either. Maybe this upcoming week a little light will be shed on this roster spot battle.
Best Start For Dwyer – Jonathan Dwyer appears to be both healthy and motivated this year in camp. Unlike the last two training camps, it is all been mostly positive we have read in regard to the first few practices. One good week does not guarantee a spot on the 53 man roster, but several of them will.
Top Two Given Nothing – As expected, rookie offensive linemen David DeCastro and Mike Adams started camp behind Ramon Foster and Trai Essex respectively, but both have seen their share of reps with the first team. It has been a quiet week for both and hopefully that changes starting this week. Both players missed most of the offseason program and are likely still getting adjusted to NFL training camp. Until further notice, both remain backups at their respective positions.
Johnson Versus Johnson Is On – Both David Johnson and Will Johnson appear to have a good battle going. David did have a rough day against LaMarr Woodley on Sunday, but both players have received a fair amount of praise from onlookers during the first week of camp. Will seems to have taken to the fullback position well and this battle figures to last all the way up until the final cuts are made. Let\’s see what happens on special teams in preseason.
Rosetta Stone Or Cliff Notes – If the Ben Roethlisberger and Todd Haley were having problems with each other early on in camp, the media surely would have been all over it. There really has not been too much reported on either of the two and that is a good thing. Several players have noted how the offense resembles the one that Ken Whisenhunt ran when he was in Pittsburgh and perhaps Roethlisberger only needed Cliff Notes instead the Rosetta Stone to pick everything up. It\’s still early, but so far, so good.