Thoughts On The Steelers As They Reach The Halfway Point Of Training Camp – Part 2
The Pittsburgh Steelers are off from practice on Tuesday and they will resume their training camp practices on Wednesday. With camp now at the halfway point, here are a few more of my thoughts that are running around in my ever so cluttered head. If you missed part one, you can read it here.
Like many of you, I questioned the Steelers using a fourth-round draft pick on a quarterback. I had no issues with the team drafting a quarterback, mind you, but figured if they did it would happen in the sixth or seventh round. As we sit here halfway through training camp, John Parker Wilson is making it known that he is not just a camp arm. His football career lays in the balance of this training camp, and evidently he is practicing like it. While it is way too early to give up on Landry Jones, it would be nice to start hearing about him at least pushing the former Alabama quarterback. He figures to get plenty of playing time Saturday night against the New York Giants, so we\’ll see firsthand where he is at in his development. Should Parker Wilson severely outplay the Oklahoma product during the preseason, the Steelers could be forced to keep him instead of their draft pick. I\’m not saying that will ultimately happen, but if it does, we might be talking about a few players the Steelers could have had in the fourth round instead of Jones a few years from now, and his selection will forever go down as a red demerit in the history of Steelers drafts.
We haven\’t heard the name of outside linebacker Chris Carter very much so far during training camp, but that\’s not necessarily a bad thing. At least he is on the field getting reps and not in the training room getting treatment. This is Carter\’s third year in the league, and he should fully understand the Steelers defense by now. His showing last year as a starter at the beginning of last season was not good at all, so these first few preseason games will be a perfect opportunity for him to show he has improved. Being as he likely will be playing against the Giants backups, he needs to dominate with his pass rush and perhaps more importantly, show he can defend the run.
Guard Justin Cheadle figures to be an offensive lineman to watch very closely on Saturday against the Giants. Should the Steelers choose to keep nine offensive linemen on the 53 man roster out of training camp, he very well might be the ninth. Cheadle, who was with the Kansas City Chiefs in training camp last year, should have a good understanding of what new offensive line coach Jack Bicknell, Jr. expects, being as the two are pretty familiar with each other. Now that Nik Embernate has been lost for the season, Cheadle has the inside track for a spot on the practice squad at the very least.
Keeping with the offensive linemen theme, is it possible that we see Kelvin Beachum play all five positions Saturday night? Probably not, but what about at least three positions? We know he will get some time at center and tackle, but don\’t rule out him playing at least one of the guard spots as well. Last year during the preseason, Beachum looked like he would be lucky to make the 53 man roster, but now, one year later, he\’s considered the Swiss army knife on the offensive line. Where he lines up at on Saturday night will likely drive my offensive game charter crazy.
I have been banging the drum for Marshall McFadden for quite some time now, and he will get a chance to pick up where he left off last year in the preseason when he plays Saturday night. According to linebackers coach Keith Butler, McFadden and Kion Wilson have a pretty good battle going on right now, so I expect the South Carolina State product to separate himself from Wilson against the Giants.
OK, now it\’s your turn. Fire away in the comments below.