Report: Sammie Coates Struggled During Minicamp


It’s early in the season but if this report from PennLive’s Jacob Klinger is any indication, Sammie Coates isn’t off to a hot start.

In a list of ten players who either helped or hurt themselves during minicamp, Coates found himself on the latter list. Klinger’s note is short but clear.

“Coates’ struggles of 2016, which were fair to blame on broken fingers, haven’t left him alone in 2017 either. There’s a dogfight to make the Steelers’ roster as a wideout this year and Coates is very much in it.”

There isn’t any specificity of what those “struggles” are, though you can imply he isn’t catching the ball cleanly. Showing off his less-mangled hand earlier in the spring, Coates said his hand was “good” but also noted he was working on getting back the strength in it. That may still take some time and create a bumpy start to the offseason. He now has about five weeks to get back to full strength.

Because regardless of how accurate Klinger’s minicamp assessment is, he’s right that Coates’ spot isn’t locked up heading into Latrobe. A strong training camp should keep him on the roster but a bad one, or at least, a rocky one, will leave the door open for Justin Hunter to take his spot. Wide receiver is the deepest position on the roster with Demarcus Ayers looking to get on the roster out of the gate while Darrius Heyward-Bey brings other value to the team in leadership and coverage ability.


Historically, the team keeps five to six receivers, meaning there could be upwards of four players with legitimate talent who don’t make the 53.

As we’ve pointed out before, Coates had a blistering start last season, showing his trademark vertical ability and showing growth in becoming a well-rounded receiver. He went invisible following his injury, sat on the bench and getting work as a gunner on special teams. When he was part of the offense, he struggled with drops. Coates officially finished with five drops on 21 catches.

That number will have to change in order for him to stick come Week One against Cleveland.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Jason Vancil

    Limas Sweed 2.0?

  • Steelers12

    Sweed was worse, higher pick and at least Coates showed flashes. Sweed was one if the biggest disappointments for the Steelers since i been alive

  • pittsburghjoe

    He is on year 3 of a 4 year rookie deal. He has alot of potenital, but the team has ALOT of options this year if he does not produce during camp. The pressure is on him. With a bent finger, arguable lingering health issues and confidence issues, it appears to be an uphill battle for him. I hope he fights through the adversity and makes the team. Hunter is only a one year deal, we have SC this year and next.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Sweed did not have mangled fingers. His issues were above the shoulders. I think the Steelers are part to blame cause they kept trotting Coates out there as damaged goods. It may have made his injury worse, but more importantly, it damaged him above the head.

  • StolenUpVotes

    It’s the number

  • pittsburghjoe

    Its the Steelers medical staff or lack there of.

  • Jason Vancil

    It’s the Curse of Neil O’Donnell 14

  • Rob H

    From what I read, he had a great day last week with no drops at all, and then followed it up with a bad practice the next day, with a bunch of them.
    So, so far it’s the same old problem, inconsistency, which is not a word you want attached to you, especially after Rooney mentioned consistency on offense as a key issue to improve. Which leads me to another key issue Rooney brought up, red zone offense, which is an area Hunter has proven himself to be very good at. If Hunter has a decent camp, they very well may choose his red zone td’s over special teams play.

  • Iulo

    any news here?

  • Rob H

    About the same as most other sites this time of year.

  • pittsburghjoe

    How about if we start questioning the Steelers medical staff? How could they clear him and keep trotting him out there? The guy has been disfigured, why is no one questioning the fact that they kept trotting him out there. I think its negligent!

  • Matt Manzo

    Uh oh!!! Usually I’d be worried about these kinda reports with Coates and Golson! But we do have Juju, Hunter, Sutton and Sensi! Seems like we’re prepared to continue without them!

  • Iulo

    agree!
    it was more a sarcasm about the alligator 🙂

  • PaeperCup

    He shined last year around this time. This is what we call broken.

  • WB Tarleton

    How so? Although it was painful and impacted his performance last year, it is very unlikely that he did more damage to his fingers by continuing to play.

    It was a coaching decision.

  • Matthew Marczi

    To be fair SCI has had more mixed reports on Coates. One day he looked excellent and was catching everything, yet a short time later the report was that he dropped three passes in a day.

  • WreckIess

    I read that he was up and down. He went one day where he caught the ball really well then the next day he was dropping them left and right. Inconsistent.

    A player that I’ve been seeing a lot of good things said about is Hunter though. Burns said he was making plays and Ben himself even brought him up twice when asked about how the receivers have been performing. It’s looking more and more like Coates could be playing ball elsewhere if he doesn’t step up.

  • Michael James

    It’s really simple: Either you have natural hands or you don’t have them. It’s hard to correct bad hands (at least in 95% of the time). I really think that the ability to catch the football is something that won’t change much (or at all) after leaving the college. Coates had many drops in college and he had them in his time with the Steelers. No shocker here. I really don’t get why so many people don’t value this ability these days. It really seems like athleticism comes before everything else, which is a mistake in my opinion.
    Belichick actually seems to think the same (all of his WRs have great hands) and as much as it pains me to say it, this man’s right more often than not…

  • Charles Mullins

    I think they hide him on the roster until he gets right. I do not think they will let another team have a crack at him. Put his big ass at tight end.

  • D.j. Hoy

    That’s what I was thinking. He struggled with drops before his injury, and you know he’s aware of the criticism about him. Gotta wonder if that will make it worse. Only time will tell.

  • copanut

    If he is still rehabbing the hand, why not store him on PUP? He isn’t needed this year but might still be a valuable option for the future if he can get the hand back up to par.

  • pittsburghjoe

    The coaches can only play him if he has been cleared by medical staff. The guy is disfigured. I would like to hear from a MD (other than the Steelers) that that his condition could not be made worse by continuing to play, not the average fan.

  • Matthew Marczi

    There is no PUP list until training camp.

  • nutty32

    Coates needs to develop a killer instinct. This dude seems soft. That AB locker room vid didn’t put SC in the best light either. If he makes the team, great. If not, will not miss.

  • Rusted Out

    You are not in any clear danger medically with broken fingers. Coates was aware that his injury could be exacerbated by playing football. None of this falls on the medical staff.

  • The Chin

    He
    Can’t
    Catch

  • Steve Johnson

    Limas Sweed 2.0? I don’t know, but I will say this, I’m sick of hearing about how athletic the Steelers WR’s are. If this is the case, the Corps Unit has underachieved the previous two years. Yes, there have been some
    injuries and suspensions too, but again, as a corps unit, they should have been able to overcome some of these issues. If Coates is displaying some of the same issues he had in 2016, time to move on. That’s the problem with Colbert/Tomlin, they hold onto players they shouldn’t, appear to get too emotionally attached
    to some players. I don’t think Justin Hunter is that much better, DHB maybe a little bit better than those two. As much as I hatted that 2nd Rd pick last April (JuJu Smith Schuster), I do understand why they selected him.
    Still think he was drafted one Rd too early though.

  • Steve Johnson

    I think Limas Sweed wore #14 too, didn’t he?

  • VaDave

    Sweed had a nasty wrist injury while at the University of Texas, never did heal right. As for Coates, I”ve had severe finger injuries, it takes longer th heall than you would think.

  • Steve Johnson

    They also have JuJu, I hear he was a pretty good Redzone Target in college too.

  • Steve Johnson

    Good point! Not to mention the Head Coach (“Run The Tires Off of Him”). I think the players are sick his Management (or lack of) skills. Although, I still disagree with #7 coming out in public and talking about this last year, it appears he could have been speaking for most players on that team. Tomlin is a good Coach, but far from being a Great Coach. I think he gets too much of a pass in the Media as well. It’s clear his teams underachieve far too many times, it’s clear his Coaching Staff can’t make adjustments during games.

  • Boots

    Was he in shape? Is he working hard? Are new guys picking things up? Did anyone get hurt? That’s about all you can get from OTA’s. Things will work themselves out when the pads come on.

  • Zarbor

    Good catch…He did wear #14 as well. Two peas in a pod.

    BTW, stop the nonsense people. Sammie Sweed had issues catching the ball long before his broken fingers.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Welcome to the team Mr. Hunter.

  • Steelgator

    He’d really have to flop to not make the team in my opinion.
    Justin Hunter – At least we can dream Coates may still have upside, Hunter has spent 5 seasons on 3 different teams proving that he’s not going to get much better, and Coates has a more team friendly contract.
    Demarcus Ayers – Ayers has proven nothing and may even be able to slip through on the practice squad.
    Cobi Hamilton – Did you watch Hamilton play last year?

    Coates played well enough on both KR and as a gunner on ST that he could possibly steal the aging DHB’s spot if the team only keeps 5 even while continuing to struggle as a WR. For him to lose out on the 6th spot, which the team should really retain this year, it would likely be a combination of Ayers or Hunter making enormous strides while Coates regresses.

  • RickM

    I think his statement about needing to get the hand strong again supports the observation he was inconsistent in minicamp. IMO, it’s one of the strangest handlings of an injury I’ve ever seen. A guy with an injured hand is allowed to play ST’s because it won’t affect the hurt area. Say what? Throwing off blockers and tackling isn’t going to affect the healing of a broken finger?

    If I had been Coates I would have run, not walked, for an outside opinion on his hand after the season. Maybe he did that, who knows. Either way, I hope he makes it back. But, it’s nice to know that we have Hunter as an option.

  • PapaJuju

    Although it was in bad taste, Bryant was absolutely right. JuJu is Coates’s replacement. If he doesn’t light it up in the pre-season and training camp, buh bye Sammie.

  • Edjhjr

    Good point

  • Applebite

    People forget about the wrist injury. And the fact he developed a problem with one of his eyes. Think it was Glaucoma…

    I still think they should end Coates season and have him get the surgery done, RIGHT NOW. This situation is not excusable.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Believe it when I see it. Coates will make the team easy, IMO!

  • nutty32

    “Hunter has spent 5 seasons on 3 different teams proving that he’s not going to get much better”

    Sounds like DHB. Steelers coach up players like no other. Would take another DHB clone over Coats any day.

  • nutty32

    He was just not that coordinated as pro athletes go. Just a fast guy with zero body control, ball awareness, hands, or anything else not related to picking up your feet and putting them back down as quickly as possible.

  • copanut

    True, but there is no cut down until after training camp. Plenty of time to put SC in safe keeping if this is a true rehab issue, as PUP or if need be IR. I guess the point is that luxury is possible thanks to the depth at the WR position, although I presume it needs to be a true injury/rehab situation for this to be “legal”.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    Except juju has separating problems

  • Ni mo

    Yeah right

  • Sdale

    Crazy. You don’t mess around with the tendons around your hand/wrist.

  • Sdale

    At this point, the best rehab might be to gain strength by catching balls.

  • RickM

    For sure. Some say, well he couldn’t have injured it further. That’s debateable. But there’s no question that fractures, tendons and ligaments can’t heal when you continue to stress them. I was really surprised they didn’t give him the normal 4-6 weeks to let the bone knit and to let everything else settle down

  • Dan

    So, are his fingers still destroyed? If so, he absolutely needs to fix that; a WR that can’t catch is useless. And shame on the coaching staff if they keep trotting him out there in that condition.

    If it’s simply a matter of ability, then his roster spot is better used elsewhere. Maybe stop issuing #14?

  • More than that, Hunter never played with an elite franchise QB…plus he doesn’t have to be a #1 or #2 X or Z wideout, just a strong back-up…plus he’s a player the team supposedly had serious interest in prior to his draft. At this point, we know nothing of how he’s panning out in Black and Gold. However, with Ben slinging the ball and our other weapons occupying our opponent’s top defenders, I expect Hunter can improve significantly re his big play potential over his career to date.

  • ryan72384

    Seriously with AB and Martavis on the outside and JuJu (who I think is going to be a beast) and Eli in the slot it really doesn’t matter what anyone else does in camp Imo. Coates Hunter Ayers DHB are all great depth so I’m good with whoever makes the team after the top 4.

  • nutty32

    “I’d like to thank my hands for being so great” – Freddie Mitchell

  • pittfan

    I feel that’s the case, it can’t be the fingers. Good one day and crappy the next? Nope!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    We shall see! 😉

  • MC

    He did have a great start to last season but I don’t think I ever saw him make a tough catch. Im glad we drafted someone like Juju who looks like he can make up for his lack of separation with contesting balls.

  • budabar

    Has he ever played any DB

  • Petherson Silveira

    Put him on IR until he gets his fingers fixed.

  • Rocksolid20

    And to think , I was happy Sweed feel to us .

  • Douglas Andrews

    Hence the main reason he was a 3rd rd pick with the size speed of 1st round talent. Very inconsistent hands coming out of Auburn. At any rate mangled up fingers surely haven’t helped him.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Sammie better have one heck of a TC or else.

  • Scott Henry

    The same was said of Anquan Boldin. I’m not worried.

  • Scott Henry

    He won’t make it. He is maybe the 7th best WR at this point. AB, MB, JuJu, Eli, Hunter, and Ayers all better. He can’t catch now and couldn’t catch in college. He has ZERO body control and is not a great athlete.

  • Steeler-Drew

    Maybe I’m missing something but I didn’t see the value he gave the special teams. How many good returns did he have? Without looking I can remember 1 good one. He is basically a one cut returning who has a hard time of making tacklers miss. How many tackles did he make on special teams. Could be wrong but once again I don’t recall many.

    To top it off I recall Tomlin saying he was have trouble catching the ball while facing it. He basically said he was only good for catching the ball over his shoulder and obviously he trouble doing that as well. But he wasn’t the first and may not be the last to play injured to the detriment of the team.

  • Steelers12

    i was as well, i thought he was gonna be what martavis bryant is

  • John Pennington

    Should have had is hand fixed he didnt his fault plus dropping the ball and playing with alligator arms dont help either.Waste of a roster spot.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Have you watched any games? Watch his highlights and tell he has zero body control. His first catch of the season shows body control. Ppl just come and say ish that ain’t true. I know my stuff. He will make this team. Do Hunter even play special teams? This his 3rd team. He can’t even beat out wrs in Tennessee (when they had nobody) and Buffalo (also with nobody). I’m just saying. We’ll see, but you don’t let that talent bounce.

  • Alex K

    Shoulda never played after those broken fingers. I’m sure jamming guys and blocking on special teams was great for healing.

  • Ni mo

    Maybe for gunner on special teams they should trade him while he still have some kind of value

  • Ni mo

    Coates only knows how to catch the 9 route he still run the wrong patterns , if he makes it he won’t get signed after his rookie contract is over

  • Ni mo

    He couldn’t catch before the fingers

  • RickM

    I agree about ST. I don’t know how effective he was on the coverage team. As far as kickoffs he was the best we had, but that’s not saying much.

    In terms of being a receiver, I differ with you there. He had 19 catches in his first 5 games and not all of them were over his shoulder. They never would have drafted him if he was that limited. He showed definite promise before the injury.

    What Tomlin actually said last October 6th was that ‘we’re seeing Coates become more than a deep ball threat and he’s rounding out his game and showing consistency’. Haley’s quote was “he’s really starting to fine tune his game”. But it’s more fun for the majority of the fanbase to ignore what was happening before the injury. No disrespect intended to you SD; but those are what the actual facts were.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    Please watch the tape. He caught more than 9 routes. He may run bad routes at times, but never wrong routes. Bryant runs wrong routes, how you feel about that? All bets are off after his rookie deal. Could explode for all we know.

  • Robert E Lil

    No he couldn’t

  • Robert E Lil

    I’m absolutely excited about the receiving corps. Bryant and Schuster. I think a guy like Coates would benefit from a limited role – just now sure if the team wants that of him

  • RickM

    The coaches were raving about Coates before his injury and he had 12 catches for 218 yards in his final two games before that injury. Of course you are right. Whether he can ever regain what he showed early last year is another story.

  • CP72

    I don’t remember the exact game…Sweed had a pass to him in a critical spot. He dropped it.

    They showed the replay and his eyes were as big as dinner plates. After the drop he was “hurt” and it cost us a crucial timeout. I don’t know if I ever was so upset with a player.

    God someone help me remember this game. It might have been a playoff game. I want to say Jacksonville, but I’m not sure.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I get it, but there’s ppl saying he’s having excellent practices and bad ones. He was a monster in training camp and I think he can do it again! But the Sweed comments drive me absolutely crazy when they’re not even close to compare. I said my piece tho! I know what I’ve watched and I wouldn’t drop him.

  • Robert E Lil

    Thank you for that

  • Dorian James

    So was I.

  • mokhkw

    I think the comparisons are apt, both seem to lose confidence after a hand or wrist injury and were never able to get back on track.

    Sweed was much better at tracking the deep ball and getting his hands into the right position than Coates has shown so far. Coates would have had more drops if he was able to track the ball better etc.

  • CP72

    Sammie has all the ability in the world…might lack in the chest area. The Bizzaro Hines Ward.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Aside from all the catches, sure.

  • Michael Conrad

    Let remember Coats could not catch before the hand injuries. While he had a nice start he could have fallen off without the injuries. Coats was labeled as a speed guy with bad hands and he is still a speed guy with bad hands. The worst thing is he has trouble tracking the ball. I think they may try to hide him this year with all the other wr’s on the team to pick from. . Put him on IR and let him get surgery on his fingers and one more shot next year. He did not want surgery but may have no choice. Coats said he was afraid of surgery so he nixed it.

  • Robert E Lil

    That 3rd down play early in the NE game- it wasn’t his fingers. He never ran to the ball. Right then you knew he’d be a giant. Non factor in that game.

  • mokhkw

    Vs Ravens in the 2008 AFC Champ game. Lol I recall it too, he “died” of embarrassment and lay on the turf causing an injury time out. He did lay a vicious block when he returned though.

  • Scott Henry

    Yep, watched all the games. He never makes a difficult catch. Has horrible hands/alligator arms. Hunter has never got to play with a decent QB or even a good team. Big Ben already saying some good things about him. Good for you knowing your stuff. I spent 4 years playing WR in college and also coached. You either have hands or you don’t. He does not.

  • will

    JJ

  • will

    ” That AB locker room vid didn’t put SC in the best light either.”
    Another fall out from AB video subversive actions. I agree with you!

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    His first catch of the season was pretty difficult, his catch over Marcus Peters was pretty difficult, he made a few difficult catches in the first Bengals game. It’s crazy I remember these and you don’t, but whatevs. Do you! I know what I’ve seen! Hunter not having good QBs still doesn’t excuse him for not beating out nobody receivers.

  • Rotten Sircus

    I hope not !!!

  • Rotten Sircus

    This is the Media trying to start controversy before we go to camp ….I don’t believe this B.S !!!!

  • Rotten Sircus

    LMFAO !!! Good One ….

  • Matthew Marczi

    There’s not really anything for them to do at this point in the offseason, but I don’t think it’s about rehabbing at this point. I think he is what he is unless he decides to get surgery on his hand, which may or may not accomplish anything.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Martavis Bryant is a speed guy with bad hands.

  • Steelers12

    i was a never a fan of Jones even at Georgia, didn’t really have high hopes

  • Ralph Wagner

    Coates should have been instructed by the Steelers organization to get his fingers fixed. How is he going to catch a football with screwed up fingers? Its human nature to want to protect a damaged finger, thus too many dropped footballs. As a receiver you must be able to catch a football. Coach Mann should explain that to him.

    Go Steelers

  • Steeler-Drew

    Sorry RM I don’t think I was clear enough. I was talking about Tomlin’s comments well after the injury occurred. Tomlin actually made the comment after his prolonged injury during his dry spell at a press conference. He said something to the effect because of his injury he is having trouble catching the ball while facing the QB. He went on to say he was more effective catching the ball over his shoulder. Sorry I don’t have the quotes for you ( I will try to look it up) but do recall the comments he made during the press conference. His point was his injury was limited him to the type of pass he could catch.

  • RickM

    No sweat Drew. Sorry, I misunderstood your timeframe. The last sentence should have clued me in. I must have been swayed by the lazy contingent who don’t care about facts and emphatically state he couldn’t catch before the injury. His career was off to a promising start, and then went downhill at warp speed after the injury. I do remember the quotes you referenced now. I would love Coates to rebound to where he was, but based on his comments about his hand I’m a lot less positive he’ll get there.

  • CP72

    Yes that’s it!! Thanks that was driving me crazy.

  • will

    You are backing off your position

  • popsiclesticks

    Maybe so but I know that a lot of WRs wait until after the season to get that surgery. They don’t want to miss full seasons over fingers and many of them have mangled hands. Torry Holt looks like he’s pointing in about 12 different directions.

  • popsiclesticks

    I think it could have partially been sequencing. Like, maybe if Sweed catches the first two he still drops a few in a row later but he has those first two TDs on his resume.

  • popsiclesticks

    Understood but if you look at other WRs, tons of them have mangled fingers and play with them until the end of the season. They don’t want to miss a year over finger surgery.

  • popsiclesticks

    Welker dropped a ton of passes and so does Edelman. I think people just assume they have great hands because they play for NE.

    People value the ability but if Sammie Coates had great hands, he wouldn’t have been a third rounder and if he were, he probably wouldn’t be open enough to drop all these deep passes.

  • popsiclesticks

    There is absolutely no reason at all to move on until September.

    Last year the corps was AB, broken Coates and a bunch of undrafted guys.

  • Matt Correll

    I wonder if it is a case of a guy who doesn’t have “great” hands (though he has made some nice catches both in college and last year), but who really struggles mentally with his confidence. He mentioned already this spring that his fingers really messed with his head/confidence last year. I wonder if drops do the same thing. Instead of just being able to shake off a drop and be confident that he will catch the next one, if he gets into his own head after a drop, and then you see one drop turn into 2-3 in the same game or practice. I’m not sure if/how that can be worked on… especially in two months!

  • Scott Henry

    You mean the ball he caught with his shoulder pads, not his hands. He got lucky on that one. His hands and ability to adjust to the ball are horrible. I personally don’t care if Hunter makes the team. Just don’t want Coates on it.

  • Conserv_58

    You were not alone. Most Steelers fans thought that draft netted the players they were missing. Sweed was a monumental bust and IMO, Rashard Mendenhall should have never decided to play in the NFL. He didn’t have the love for the game. He was in it for the money. He had the physical attributes, but, for me, he always looked like he didn’t have the heart, passion or desire to play. He had one move, spin and it was that move that caused Ray Lewis to break a bone in his back. Mendenhall lobbied Ariens for a FB, but it fell on deaf ears because Ariens felt the FB position was an unnecessary position.

  • Conserv_58

    In the end, the player decides if he wants to undergo surgery or not. I realize that there is a lot of pressure involved with the team’s expectations, but the reality is pro football is an annual eleven billion dollar entertainment business. That money making train never stops rolling.

  • Conserv_58

    There were several reports that stated Sweed had a complete lack of self confidence which contributed to his not living up to expectations. Those reports also said that the Steelers took the initiative to get him to seek psychoanalysis.

  • Conserv_58

    That gaffe was still not nearly as bad as the time Plexico Burress, a rookie, spiked a live ball only to see it get picked up by the opposing team.

  • Conserv_58

    Exactly! In fact it was Coates’ in consistency as a receiver in college that caused him to fall to the third round.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    He caught it and he adjusted well to catch it. Forget luck, if you catch it you catch it. You should know that, you’re the wr for 4 years.

  • Steelers12

    so u think Coates a bigger bust, he still has time to fix it. if coates is cut he will be picked up by another team Sweed wasn’t

  • Steelgator

    Justin Hunter wishes he had DHB’s production, as he’s accumulated barely more than half the yardage DHB did in the same time frame. Besides, Hunter has never been much good on special teams, DHB’s specialty at this point in his career, and a near-necessity for a WR5.

    If you want a DHB clone, you actually want to stick with Coates, who has provided value in two phases of special teams as an average kick returner and an above average gunner with 3 special teams tackles against Cleveland when DHB and Thomas were both out with injuries.

  • popsiclesticks

    No one is a bigger bust than Sweed, I just think maybe his career could have played out slightly differently in an alternate universe if he caught the pass against Cincinnati and didn’t blow out his achilles.

  • I generally try not to make too much of these off-season reports, at least until things get going in earnest in Latrobe, and I’m certainly not prepared to write Coates off at this point, but it would certainly appear that a significant opportunity has opened up for the likes of Ayers and Hunter, though it’s an opportunity that was there even before Coates’s reported struggles. I suspect Coates still has the advantage, but Hunter in particular could surpass him with a strong camp. (I see DHB making the team anyway, and Ayers may have too many hurdles to overcome, especially if JuJu performs well in the slot.)