10 Things We Learned From The Steelers Third OTA Session Of 2013

Now that the Pittsburgh Steelers have wrapped up their third OTA session of the 2013 season, here are ten things that we learned this past week.

Ben-ded Knee – Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had arthroscopic surgery on Wednesday to clean up some meniscus damage in his right knee that has been causing him some discomfort, and as a result he will be sidelined until the start of training camp. Roethlisberger was urged to get it done now, and the consensus is that he will be good to go when the team arrives at Latrobe in late July. With Roethlisberger sidelined, it afforded backup Bruce Gradkowski the chance to get extra reps with the first team, which isn\’t necessarily a bad thing.

Tackle Rotation Gets Beached – With Mike Adams out this week as he begins recovering from the stab wounds he suffered early last Saturday morning, the Steelers instantly moved Kelvin Beachum into the starting right tackle position. Beachum continues to get some work as the backup center, but is most definitely considered the third tackle on the team. We also learned this past week that Guy Whimper and Joe Long are both working with the second-team, and that they are swapping series on each side of the line with Long going first on the left. That means undrafted free agents Mike Golic Jr. and Mike Farrell are both picking up the scraps with the third team.

Paulson Booted – Second-year tight end David Paulson has been sidelined with a foot/ankle injury and had to wear a boot temporarily as a result. The injury to the Oregon product is not believed to be serious; however, and the hope is that he will be able to resume practice next week during the mandatory mini camp that gets underway on Tuesday.

Sly & Marshall Two Of An Inside Kind – A source told me this week that Stevenson Sylvester and Marshall McFadden are getting most of the reps with the second-team behind starters Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote respectively. We all know that sixth-round draft pick Vince Williams will make the final 53 man roster, so you can clearly see that linebackers Brian Rolle and Kion Wilson are pretty much way outside of the bubble right now as expected.

Less Of Steve To Love – According to Mark Kaboly of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, nose tackle Steve McLendon has reportedly dropped 15 pounds since last season and is down to 320 pounds. I really didn\’t think he looked 335 last year, but he very well could have been.

More Of Jonathan To Love – According to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, running back Jonathan Dwyer is very heavy right now and his teammates cannot believe it. If indeed this is true, then Dwyer will need to get busy over the course of the next several weeks in order to be trimmed up like fellow running back Isaac Redman is by the time training camp rolls around. As far as the current running back rotation goes right now, head coach Mike Tomlin said on Monday that nothing should be read into that until the players put the pads on at Latrobe.

A King No More – While we don\’t know for sure if it was his hamstring that facilitated the move, cornerback Justin King, who ended the 2012 season on the Steelers 53 man roster, was placed on injured reserve this past week after being sidelined for a while. Should the injury wind up not being a season-ender, there\’s a chance the Steelers will release him by the start of the season if he is fully recovered by then. However, for all practical purposes, King has worn a Steelers jersey for the last time. Undrafted free agent Nigel Malone was signed to take King\’s place on the 90 man roster.

And Then There Was One – With the release of guard Willie Colon becoming official when the calendar flipped over to June, the Steelers were able to get three more of their draft picks under contract as linebacker Jarvis Jones, running back Le\’Veon Bell and defensive end Nick Williams all signed their rookie deals. That leaves quarterback Landry Jones as the only draft pick not currently under contract, and it is only a matter of time before he signs.

Short Absentee List – The Steelers had great attendance over the course of the last three weeks. This past week the only players absent were Adams, safety Troy Polamalu, safety Ryan Clark and rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton. Cornerback Ike Taylor returned for week three after missing the second week to take care of some business back in Florida. Both Polamalu and Clark, however, are expected to present for the mandatory mini camp next week.

No Gay Safety Dance – Although Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake said during the draft that cornerback William Gay could play safety in a pinch; Gay has yet to play a snap at the position throughout the first three weeks of OTA\’s, according to Kaboly. This is not huge news, only worth notating in the back of your head moving forward.

  • Shea Fahr

    Anyone hear if Woods was still running second team NT?

  • Stephen Dale

    Still a lot of player movement before the end of training camp. This might be a year where the Steelers spend extra time watching the waiver wire when other teams start trimming their rosters.

  • steeltown

    It’s funny I haven’t really heard about or even talked about Joe Long to much myself, but it stands to reason that one of the backup spots is his to lose, he has been around longer than Whimper and any of the UDFA’s

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Don’t know why Bouchette said Dwyer is looking heavier than ever (negative connotation). I heard from the horse’s mouth that Dwyer is in the best shape of his life. Does Bouchette even know that muscle weighs more than fat? Anyway, we shall see what happens later.
    By the way, I hope they sign that guy that used to be with Houston…. Caldwell, is it? Very capable back-up at a couple of positions. Those guys know how to run the ball, Texans, that is. He could help in a variety of ways.

  • steeltown

    Yea we’ve heard both sides of this… In the 1st OTA sessions he did seem alittle heavy, but recently he honestly looked to be in pretty good shape. Not sure why he gets so much grief, I personally would much rather have Dwyer on roster than Redman who is 5yrs older, slower, more injury prone

  • Alexander Sebastian Heath

    You have to look at the situation, financially at least. If Steelers see Redman as somebody who still contribute in next 3 years, they will keep Redman because age, role, and potential equals money. Dwyer still has a lot of upside, being young he may be more pricey, say Bell goes down and Dwyer run like crazy? Then we’ll have to let him go like Mendenhall.

    Don’t get me wrong, I always like them young and cheap but the fact Steelers offered him an original tender and tried to shop him during the draft says a lot. I’d have signed him to a 3 years contract, enough time to let Bell develop or and become the back we want him to be.

    I just… I mean I don’t practice religions and I stll pray (hope is a better word) that Tomlin and Co. Doesn’t throw running backs under the bus again!

  • Douglas Andrews

    I hope Dwyer gets his weight issues under control. He has shown that he can be a good running back at times. I can’t see the Steelers keeping both Dwyer and Red as they are almost one in the same RB. I’d prefer Dwyer as i see more upside but it doesn’t really matter as long as whomever it is stays healthy during the season

  • Shea Fahr

    Thanks Jonus!

  • Shea Fahr

    Over 4 yards per carry. I agree with you, I’ll take it.

  • Craig Ressler

    Well McLendon is 6’4, and really isn’t a fat blob, he’s pretty solid for a big guy. I am not surprised that he was 335.

  • walter mason

    The big concern I have with Dwyer is how he feels he has to remove himself from the game. I dont get to watch every game here in Florida but the game I watched he was coming out every other play. Whats up with this?

  • hergieburbur

    Poor conditioning. It has always been, legitimately, the biggest knock on him.

  • Craig Ressler

    Yeah, I actually think he has the skill to be an above average back in the league, but he will never reach that in his career without the work ethic and motivation it takes to be above average. If he never develops that he will always just be another RB in the league. Its a shame seeing that he is in the NFL, how many people would love to be in his shoes!?!?

  • Shea Fahr

    I saw the same thing as you Walter. But Dwyer answered those questions when asked and said that is what the Coaches told him to do. I do not know why they would tell him to do that but they did not refute the claims made by him.

  • WilliamSekinger

    This right here is spot on…and his poor conditioning continues apparently.

  • Ahmad

    So far so good. It’s sounds like the practices are going well and only minor injuries have been suffered. I like it.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Any word with Reggie Dunn and his ability to return punts?

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’m probably alittle biased towards Dwyer bcause he played for Georgia Tech (GT)

  • Douglas Andrews

    When they listed him at 280 I never believed that he looks solid as a rock. He always struck me as a 300 plus pounder that quick as a cat!

  • Douglas Andrews

    I don’t think he will ever be a workout warrior. What i would like to see is Dwyer stay healthy and be able to run behind a good offensive line. I think we will see a different runner…a much better runner