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.