The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped of their second OTA session of the 2013 season on Thursday and below is a recap of what we know took place during the week. The Steelers have tightened their grip on the media even more this year and that is why you are not seeing much come out of the practices from the beat writers. Unless a member of the media gets information from one of the players via an interview, they can\’t report it. This is the reason why we aren\’t seeing a lot of reports about who is playing where and who is banged up. If this continues, and I expect that it will, I wouldn\’t expect much in the way of usable information next week.
Absentees: Safety Troy Polamalu was absent this week as was cornerback Ike Taylor. Polamalu is believed to be back home in California training on his own while Taylor had business to attend to back in Florida. I think Taylor will be back next week, but that is mere speculation. Fellow safety Ryan Clark missed Tuesday, but was present for the Wednesday session. Rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton also remains absent and Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported on Thursday that he will not be able to attend the mandatory mini camp next month due to the graduation rules for rookies.
Injury Report: As far as the injury outlook goes after the first two weeks, everything appears to be pretty good overall. Tight end Heath Miller is running 100-yard sprints for starters, so that\’s a good thing. Linebacker Sean Spence updated his rehab, but I do not expect that he will be ready for the start of 2013 season. Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones was able to work on Tuesday after being slowed the first week by a hamstring problem, so we can only assume he made it through the week without any issues. We believe that rookie cornerback Terry Hawthorne is still sidelined after having his knee procedure done and we expect him to remain out until training camp begins. Cornerback Justin King missed time this week with a hamstring problem, while rookie tackle Mike Golic Jr. apparently missed time with some sort of lower leg injury. I do not know if either King or Golic were able to work on Thursday or not. As far as cornerback Curtis Brown goes, there was a picture on steelers.com of him wearing an ice wrap on his left knee, but I have been told he wears that a lot after practices.
Position Updates: The offensive line appears to be set already for the 2013 season as Marcus Gilbert continues to get work at left tackle while Mike Adams continues to work at right tackle. While Adams might get a little bit of work at left tackle moving forward, I would be surprised if he beats Gilbert out for the job at this point. Kelvin Beachum continued his training at center in week two, but admitted on Thursday that he is having consistency problems snapping the football. As far as the running back pecking order goes, there has not been any updates on that at all this week. However, last week it was leaked that Jonathan Dwyer was getting the first team reps, but personally, I don\’t think we can read anything into that situation until the team arrives at training camp. Al Woods apparently received work again at nose tackle with the second team as the coaches are wanting to see just how versatile he is. This can\’t be good news for Alameda Ta\’amu or Hebron Fangupo, but we will have to wait and see if this continues. With Polamalu absent and Clark missing some time this week, Robert Golden and Da\’Mon Cromartie-Smith were the next safeties up according to Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider.
Special Teams: There really hasn\’t been anything of substance to pass along about the punt or kick returners for the last couple of weeks. We had conflicting reports last week about rookie wide receiver Reggie Dunn and his punt catching abilities, but that\’s about it.
Signings: Heading into Friday the Steelers still have four of their nine draft unsigned and they are Jarvis Jones, Le\’Veon Bell, Landry Jones and Nick Williams. The Steelers will receive additional cap space next week after Willie Colon finally comes off of the books, so it\’s only a matter of time until all are under contract.
The Steelers third and final OTA session will get underway on Monday.