The Pittsburgh Steelers mandatory mini camp got underway on Tuesday and here is a recap from day one.
Markus Down For An Excused Absence – With it being a mandatory mini camp the Steelers had everyone present except for rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton, according to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. That means both Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark are back in town as expected. Tackle Mike Adams is of course still away recovering from his stab wounds.
Knees Some Improvement – Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (knee), tight end David Paulson (foot/ankle), cornerback Terry Hawthorne (knee), tight end Heath Miller (knee), tackle Mike Adams (stab wounds) and linebacker Sean Spence (knee) all remain sidelined on Tuesday. Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about injuries following the Tuesday practice as it relates to players possibly not being ready by the start of training camp, and his answer was of course vague. “Not as I stand here today,” said Tomlin. “We will know more in regards to that the closer we get.”
Ben Readyberger – Roethlisberger gave an update on the procedure that he had performed last week on his right knee and made it clear to everyone that it was only a cleanup and not a repair. The Steelers quarterback said that he could play on Sunday if he needed to, and that he will “absolutely” be ready for training camp next month. Video on steelers.com showed Roethlisberger with a wrap on his right knee while throwing short passes on the side.
Situational In The Shorts – Tomlin told the media after practice that the team worked on situational football on Tuesday and that included running the two-minute offense and working on third downs.
Bruce Alrighty – Tomlin is not one to give out attaboys, but with Roethlisberger currently sidelined he did say that backup quarterback Bruce Gradkowski had a good showing Tuesday in his absence. “Bruce did a nice job today, particularly in the two-minute and other areas,” said Tomlin.
Counterfeit RB Depth Chart – Running backs coach Kirby Wilson made it clear on Tuesday that Jonathan Dwyer is listed at number one on the depth chart only because that\’s the way things ended last season. This backs up what Tomlin said last week during his press conference as it relates to the position. Wilson also made it clear that if running backs can\’t block; they won\’t play this season.
Language Barriers Improving – Both Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley made it known on Tuesday during their interviews that they have worked on changing up some of the terminology this offseason in an effort to make it easier for everyone to understand.
Depth Charges – New offensive line coach Jack Bicknell Jr. said after practice that his biggest concern right now is developing depth on the offensive line behind his five starters.
The Steelers will back on the field Wednesday for day two of mini camp, and I suspect we will get to hear from defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and possibly even linebackers coach Keith Butler following practice.