NFL Network’s Mayock Visits Camp, Shares Thoughts On 2015 Steelers

On Monday evening, NFL Network’s Mike Mayock visited the campus of Saint Vincent College to take in the festivities of Steelers Training Camp. Mayock is no stranger here as well, since he was the team’s tenth-round pick in the 1981 NFL Draft as a safety out of Boston College. He had a few observations of the team, and just like the other 31 franchises around the league, no team is perfect, even ones like New England who just hoisted the Lombardi Trophy.

This current Steelers team has it’s deficiencies, mainly on the defensive side of the ball, as the offense is littered with All-Pros like center Maurkice Pouncey, wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le’Veon Bell, as well as budding players with Pro Bowl potential like receiver Martavis Bryant and guard David DeCastro. The unit is commonly regarded as arguably the most potent offense in the league outside of Green Bay and for good reason. Mayock agreed, citing the overall potential of this group as a major reason they should be one of the final teams left standing when all is said and done come playoff time. In a way, they compare favorably to the Colts of the 2000s, with an explosive offense and a pedestrian defense. The current defense has the pieces, especially with four first-round picks at the linebacker spots, it’s just a matter of gaining the necessary experience and cohesion.

“Offensively I think their skill position group is as good as anybody in the league,” Mayock said, according to Teresa Varley of “The Steelers and Green Bay have the best skill position players in the league. I like how their offensive line has continued to develop and I would love to see what the role for Dri Archer going to be.”

This is a question that has the minds of Steelers’ fans pondering as well, with his blinding speed and ability in the open field underutilized last season. If there’s one thing that would make this offense that much more dangerous is a threat like Archer fulfilling his potential and ability to hit pay dirt from anywhere on the field, be it from a few yards out on a swing pass or returning a kickoff from deep in his own end zone.

Like other pundits, Mayock cited the defense as an area the team needs major contributions from this season.

“It really comes down to the defense,” Mayock said, according to Varley. “I don’t think there is any doubt they are going to score points offensively, they have one of the best offenses in the league and should be one of the top three teams in the league in scoring.”

A major area he’s looking for improvement in is with the pass rush, with the addition of freakishly talented Bud Dupree in the first round, coupled with the promise and added bulk of 2013 first rounder, Jarvis Jones.

“Is Jarvis Jones, the first round pick from 2013, going to be a bust or is he going to be a player?” Mayock said. “The corners, I have no idea who is going to play for them. I love the trade for Brandon Boykins. He is a quality nickel that might get the chance to compete on the outside.”

All in all, if the defense can do a half decent job and allow the offense to perform up to expectations, Mayock feels the team will be just fine as it navigates the league’s toughest schedule.

“Defensively, when you dig in to it, can they get more pressure on the quarterback?” Mayock said. “They have to take the ball away and they have to pressure the quarterback.”

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I actually think our CB took a major step up with adding Boykins. Even if Golson was playing, it was a question mark about how good we were going to be and what we could expect of him. I think this gives you 2 solid guys in Gay and Boykins. Add in Blake, who you hope last year wasn’t a fluke, and Allen, who you hope last year WAS a fluke, and you suddenly are 4 deep without anything from rookies you thought you might have to lean on. The FO needs to understand that both of your starting CBs will be UFA at the end of the year. Not good, but fixable.

  • cencalsteeler

    It’s hard not to argue with Mayocks thoughts. I have faith in the front 7 and the backing corps should be ok if they settle down like they did at the end of last season. The big question mark remains in the secondary, imo. No one knows if Cortez is going to turn things around. Gay had a great season last year, but can he repeat? Can Shark play injury free all year? I’m rooting for him, but he seems to always have some lingering injury. Hopefully, his strength and size don’t work against him by continuing to get bumps and bruises during his career. So far, it seems it has (sorry, Notorious TOM). And Mitchell… far, we’ve heard about groins being last years issues and this year, he’s been hampered by a hamstring. Still a no show at camp as far as putting on the pads. Hopefully, this group can put things together, and if they do, can make our Defense a reptutable one. With the transgression to a pass happy league, unfortunately, there’s a lot more pressure on the secondary to succeed, and for us, the jury is still out.

  • pittfan

    It is entirely reasonable to place ??? on the defense. But as far as this year versus last I’m certain the question is more “how much better will they be” than “if” they’ll be better. Lot of second third year ??? But they hold tons of upside potential.
    I think we’re all ready to see them roll out a pigskin and get this season under way!

  • The Notorious TOM

    I believe :'(

    Shamarko’s going to do me proud this season.

  • steeltown

    We haven’t played any Football, but I cant help but feel better about our CB group w/ the addition of Boykin and the positive reports thus far on Webb and Grant. Plus having Golson on reserve.

    The Safety position is a different story however, Mitchell and Thomas need to get and stay healthy. They need the reps together.

  • Kip Holmes

    The defense will be decent this year maybe even better than expect. If the offense lives up to expectations it will help the defense because offenses will become one dimensional. If you know a team is down by 17 or more points you don’t have to worry about the run, which will let the defense pin it’s ears back and go after the QB.
    Once offenses get one dimensional they press and make mistakes. Mistakes = turnovers which gives the defense a swag about themselves and when a team believes and momentum is going your way the skies the limit. Yes we will have a couple games we will just shake our heads and wonder WTH is going on. And those moments will teach them lessons on what they need to do to improve. Will make this prediction in 2 – 3 years the defense will be a top ten defense again.

  • SixRings

    The situation with the 2 UFAs next yr is definitely fixable, in a couple of different ways. Start with Golson, Grant, Cortez and (probably) Blake and/or Webb. Assume right off the bat that 2 are ultimately going to fail. Now, maybe sign 1 of those UFAs and/or a surprise 1st or 2nd rounder in 2016 and it’s looking like a nice, young talented group. You’ll have the numbers to drop Cortez if he doesn’t show up this year. However, if he shocks the world and has a break out season, then we could be talking about the CBs being a strength going into 2016.

  • Madi

    I’m glad he just came out and said, “I have no idea who their cornerbacks are.”

    Throughout the run-up to the draft, he cited B.W. Webb as our starting cornerback, with no one opposite him. Uhh… Gay, Allen, Blake… Webb might not even make the team, and if he does he might not ever see the defensive side of the field. It was just weird.