The Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 mandatory mini-camp gets underway today and below are a few talking points and things to look for over the next few days.
Offense Installation Continues – Things seem to be going right according to schedule with the installation of the offense of Todd Haley thus far. Ben Roethlisberger noted last week that he is getting a better grip of what is going on after the three weeks of OTA sessions. Haley mentioned last week that minicamp will be used to go back through everything that was installed over the course of the last three weeks.
Wallace Absence – Steelers unrestricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace still has not signed his tender and there has been no indication that he will do so this week. Friday, the day after mini-camp wraps up, the Steelers have the option to lower the tender of Wallace from $2.74 million down to $577,000, but all signs point to that not happening, nor should it. Wallace does have his playbook already, and although it would be nice to have him on the field working in the new offense of Haley, it is not likely to happen. General Manager Kevin Colbert stated last week that they are confident that they will get a long-term done at some point, so hopefully by the start of training camp is when we will next see Wallace.
DeCastro, Adams & Ta\’amu Present – David DeCastro, Mike Adams and Alameda Ta\’amu are all in town now and will work for the first time on the field since the rookie mini-camp that took place immediately after the draft. Offensive line coach Sean Kugler said last week that he has been in constant communication with his two rookie offensive linemen and that both seem to be studying the playbook thus far and are both asking all the right questions in addition. Kugler said that both DeCastro and Adams will both get quite a bit of work this week at right guard and left tackle respectively with both the first and second team units in an effort to get them up to speed quickly. Kugler also said he would like to have his starting five in place at the conclusion of the week. Ta\’amu will get much needed work with defensive line coach John Mitchell, who will continue his process of breaking down the rookie nose tackle and rebuilding him again.
Harrison & Worilds Participation Unlikely – Jason Worilds is not likely to practice this week as he continues to recover from off-season wrist surgery. The team is hopeful that he will be ready by the start of training camp. James Harrison missed quite a bit of time the last few OTA sessions due to fluid build up on his knee. The main goal is for Harrison to arrive at training camp 100% healthy, so it will not be too surprising to hear him being limited this week or not working at all. If he does, all the better. Also still not expected to work this week are Rashard Mendenhall and Casey Hampton as both continue to rehab from knee surgery.
Spence, Rainey & Brown Flashing – We have heard quite a few reports over the course of the last three weeks about second year cornerback Curtis Brown and rookies Chris Rainey and Sean Spence flashing in shorts. Training camp is right around the corner and hopefully these promising reports continue to surface this week.
Staying Healthy – The biggest thing the Steelers can accomplish this week is not to have any serious injuries. They have managed to stay clear of them through the three weeks of OTA sessions and hopefully that continues this final week of work.