Steelers 2014 Training Camp Day Two: What I’m Watching For
By Alex Kozora
Day one of training camp is in the books for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Looking ahead to today, a couple of areas I’ll attempt to pay special attention to.
– What will the second and third team offensive line look like? On Saturday, they remained mostly unchanged with the exception of Cody Wallace filling in for the injured David Snow. The backups stayed at one position, but even for a team that values flexibility, this isn’t terribly surprising on the first day. Get some reps, gain some experience, and then move elsewhere. Will Wesley Johnson see time at guard? Will Guy Whimper, who can theoretically play four positions, see time at something other than right tackle? All good questions. Perhaps we receive some more clarity today.
– How many snaps will Dri Archer receive at RB and WR? He spent the majority of the time in the backfield on Saturday though the Steelers were not shy about putting him in the slot. I’ll attempt to keep a snap count for each spot in 7 on 7’s and 11 on 11.
– Can Justin Brown carry over his strong day one performance? Saturday was a wonderful place to start, but building consistency and reliability are key for any young player trying to earn the trust of the coaching staff.
I want to see how fluid he looks getting in and out of his breaks. For players with his size, separation is a common obstacle.
– Who could see time at gunner? I admit I didn’t get a good look during the brief special teams period where that was worked on.
– Will it be Daniel McCullers or Hebron Fangupo receiving second team reps at nose tackle? It was difficult for me to reach a conclusion on Saturday. A sixth-round rookie that’s extremely raw running ahead Fangupo would be telling.
– Does Shamarko Thomas see time at FS or is he strictly Troy Polamalu’s backup? Which OLB spot is Howard Jones playing? Questions I was asked Saturday but couldn’t give a confident answer to. I’ll have them today.
– “Small name” players that slightly piqued my interest and hopefully I can learn more about: Eric Waters, Tauren Poole, Vic So’oto.
– Getting a better look at the team’s top two draft picks, Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt. Admittedly, did not learn a ton about them day one.
– With a day under his belt, how will Sean Spence look? I want to see him deal with soreness and some pain. That and being able to maintain the athleticism he had pre-injury are the two goals. If he passes, he’ll make the team. Pittsburgh is giving Spence the opportunity, working him as the second team ILB with Vince Williams.
– Will the defense record its first interception? None on Saturday, albeit in an offense-friendly environment. More of the same Sunday, no pads, but someone’s going to get to brag to the rest of the defense. Any guesses?
– Might be able to provide a tiny bit of clarity on the Snow injury. Reports say he’s currently in a boot. We’ll see if he’s still in one tomorrow. Chances seem high. If it’s a serious injury, and the team should know shortly after the results of an MRI/X-Ray, he could be waived/injured and designated for injured reserve.