First, as a guy in his second round of OTAs and mini-camp with the Steelers, noticing anything different with the team and schemes this season?
Not really – it’s the same thing as last year – pretty much the same stuff. Same coaches…same players…
Your story is an interesting one – very similar to Alejandro Villinueva’s. You came out of college two years ago as a defensive lineman and are not playing offensive tackle. Talk a bit about how that happened.
First, tell us a bit about how this offseason differs from last one for you?
Well it’s not so much new just more competition. It’s been more competitive as a team this year versus last year. We had great attendance in OTAs and mini-camp – they key players showed up besides Bell.
Any concern amongst teammates about Bell?
Well many of the players around the league don’t show up to OTAs and mini-camp. I don’t know Le’Veon’s situation but I don’t think it’s about money, just knowing him as a person. I think it’s more about the surgery he had and coming off of it. I know what that’s like. Once he’s back we all know what he’ll give us. I don’t think anyone has any concerns. And it helps because the guys behind him get more reps and that’s huge for us. You don’t get those once the season starts. And that’s chances for receivers in the passing game not just backs.
Chris Adamski (@C_AdamskiTrib) takes us around the horn on the Steelers squad to discuss depth and roster questions/issues early in the offseason.
First, let’s start with defense and the scheme – inn speaking with some of the players this week it seems like the one common theme on defense is improved communication and some changes in scheme. Thoughts?
Well – if you consider that 40% of the starters (I consider five defensive backs with the slot corner to be starters) are entering their second year in the secondary, that’s big. The Steelers were not hiding their communication issues last year. It was the rallying cry all off season – fix the communication issues. Which makes sense since they started two rookies – one of which was out of position early on.
In terms of scheme, testing things is routine now. They have the whole off season to get it together, especially with this part as an emphasis.
With SteelCityUnderground, I interview former Steelers LB Carlos Emmons on making the transition as a rookie outside linebacker to the NFL, pass rush techniques, frustrations of dropping into coverage, mentors and more.
We had the opportunity to interview former Steeler cornerback JT Thomas on Steel Nation Radio Presented By Steelers Takeaways. Thomas was an All-Pro CB and part of all four Steeler Super Bowls in the 70′s and knows a thing or two about playing in the secondary, an area the Steelers have addressed heavily in the past two drafts.
We find out what JT thinks about coming into the league out of college, playing the slot, what teammates and coaches taught him and how he thinks the black and gold will do this year, among many other items!
Donovan Woods:“I think I was really just a training camp body, but I just wanted an opportunity. I thought I would be playing inside but they put me at outside in mini-camp so I was outside. There were a ton of guys I thought. Though I played outside all camp and preseason, we had some training camp injuries and in the last preseason game against Carolina and I volunteered to go to inside after Arnold Harrison went down with a knee injury and had a very productive game and just like that I was at inside now. “
Mike Quinn:“They went to camp with four quarterbacks – Miller, Kordell, Tomczak and me. I think everyone thought I was just going in as the camp arm. I didn’t focus on that and ended up having a really good preseason and made the team as the third quarterback. It was awesome -we had a great season and I learned a lot. Tomczak took me under his wing and showed me how to be a professional.”