Steelers DL Coach John Mitchell Not Ready To Etch Anything In Stone

Just because there have been several positive reports here and there about a few of the young defensive lineman currently on the Pittsburgh Steelers roster so far during training camp, doesn’t mean much of anything if defensive line coach John Mitchell isn’t impressed.

By the sound of things, the young group consisting of Stephon Tuitt, Nick Williams, Hebron Fangupo, Brian Arnfelt, Daniel McCullers and others still have a long way to go in their development.

“A lot of mistakes, not where they should be to play in the NFL,” Mitchell told Ken Laird of Trib Live Radio in a short interview following Saturday’s practice. “That’s why we’ve got training camp.”

According to several reports, a lot of the young defensive linemen are being rotated around, as well as being played in different groups. Mitchell, however, doesn’t want anything to be read into that.

“We’re rotating people everywhere. Until we play a game and get the speed of the game, we don’t know what we have,” he told Laird.

The Steelers are going to keep at least six defensive lineman out of training camp this year and we know who four of those players will be. Outside of Cameron Heyward, Steve McLendon, Cam Thomas and Tuitt, however, the race for the final two, and possibly even three spots still appears to be wide open.

So far during training camp, neither Arnfelt nor Williams has made much noise and the same goes for returning Fangupo. Sure, rookie McCullers has gotten his share of kudos so far during training camp from those that have observed practices, but not enough for him to be considered a roster lock at this point.

Mitchell’s right. This is what training camp is for and with there being eight more practices and four preseason games still left on the calendar, it will be a while until final roster spots are filled. Like the longtime coach told Laird, “We don’t have anything etched in stone.”

  • Brendon Glad

    I’m going to go a little off-subject, but since the name John mitchell usually flies under the radar, I’d just like to say that he is one of my favorite Steelers coaches of all-time. The loyalty to the organization he has shown is obviously admirable, but it would be somewhat empty if u didn’t factor in how great a coach he is. Then the loyalty aspect gets magnified ten-fold. Because he is a tremendous coach. One of the “re-turning” points of the franchise occurred when Bill Cowher hired this man to coach DL. Our younger fans may not remember this, but the late 80’s into the early nineties was an era of HORRIBLE Steelers DL play. And I’m not even going to say I was spoiled by the curtain, because I already factored that into my mindset. He changed that into a staple of awesome defensive play that has barely taken a break for 21 years. And let’s keep in mind that almost every single man that walks into his DL room, is being thrust into a position (2 gap NT or 3-4 DE) that they have NEVER played before on any level. Just wanted to let the Steelers Nation know that I appreciate him greatly, and I know I’m not alone.

  • DoctorNoah

    Here, here. Well said. Couldn’t agree more

  • Steelers@2010

    I knew he had been around for a while, didn’t know the entire story though. Great write-up. Thanks

  • steeltown

    hear hear

  • charles

    Thanks for your paying respect to Mitchell. A look back at the last 2 years of Tomlin leadership appears to show Mr T realizing he is only as good as his assistants. Mann, Saxon, Haley, and Porter seem to be excellent steps forward. Carnell Lake speaks for himself given no pass rush the last 3 yrs. Your going to hate this, but it is time for Mitchell, Butler, and LeBeau to let some new blood in. Seems contradictory, but Maybe with another SB win they could all retire.

  • Steve

    What you been smoking Charlie? Without Mitchell, Lebeau and Butler our D can hang it up! Your paragraph started off ok, just take the last 2 sentences out, cause half of them guys you named are on the O side of the team.