View Full Version : 2013 Training Camp Thoughts- Steelers

08-08-2013, 01:27 AM
With almost 2 weeks of training camp in the books, I figured I'd give my opinions about my feelings of the Steelers camp so far.

Initially I was super pleased to see an in shape, and kinda svelte Ben show up. Then saw Woodley looked more like the sophomore version of himself, than 300lb fat and happy Woodley we've seen the last 2 years. Then troy is healthy. Leveon Bell, Redman, and Dwyer all showed up having lost lots of weight, all knowing it would be a dogfight for the RB1 designation, with Redman and Dwyer knowing their roster viability was at stake. The starting 5 on the o line were healthy (been a long time since I could say THAT). Seems like everyone KNEW this year was going to be all business.

Then Tomlin showed he meant business. Weve gone live in hitting and tackling in EVERY single practice allowed, save one. Lots of young guys to figure out, and making sure conditioning and stamina issues don't cost us late in games like it did last year. Tomlin dropped the hammer, and the team is responding. Between the youth behind the starters and the switch to a ZBS, hitting is necessary. Good call by tomlin. You can't get good at something that requires hitting that's new with walkthroughs.

Now onto my positional observations...

08-08-2013, 01:44 AM
2 positions were up for debate prior to training camp, ROLB and RB. The RB competition is officially over. Bell is our new bell cow. The spot is his to lose for opening week. He's listed 5th on the depth chart, but that's tomlins way of motivating him. Bell has been considerably better than every other back in camp in every area but blocking (where's he's been better than average). He's our starter, and has regularly ripped off long runs and caught everything thrown at him. Redman and Dwyer have struggled to run behind the zone scheme..

ROLB has been a 2 horse race between Jarvis Jones and Worilds. Jones has made his mistakes, and shown he needs to bulk up and add more pass rush moves to his repertoire. That said he's been damn good thus far, better than I expected. Even been good at dropping thus far. He's regularly batted down passes in both rushing and dropping. 3 in practice today, and a bat/int on Sunday (I believe). He's doing a very good job of picking up the scheme. Needs to get better at anchoring the run though.

Meanwhile Worilds has been showing what he does best. Being injured. 4 years of this now. He came back quickly, but I suspect that's a product of how well Jones has played thus far. Nothing exemplary to report about Worilds on field play. Perhaps the preseason games performances will change my mind, but at this point Jones will start by week 6. Supremely disappointed in Worilds and impressed by Jones. Jones is going to be the real deal. Just think if he starts he's a 50/50 proposition. For as many splash plays as he makes with his ability, he gives up as many due to the lack of his acumen of the scheme.

08-08-2013, 02:03 AM
A surprising battle, that seems all but won was surprisingly concrete. Gilbert at LT and Adams at RT. Gilbert has been meh, so they made the switch. The fact since they made the switch, even saying they were "preparing for flexibility of position" reads like hot garbage for me. Adams is the better player. Has been all camp, was last year. Adams is a lefty, and after reading an article quoting tunch iilken, in which he states lefties are better on the left and righties are better on the right, then injected with what seems fact, that Adams is a better player its no wonder he's better on the left. Practice has shown this. It's why Adams is listed at the starter for LT and Gilbert the starter at RT for the 1st preseason game.

Add to that Gilbert's poor conditioning and play this far has led to questioning if he would be among the starting 5 at all. His play hasn't suggested it. He's been outplayed by a 7th rd soph, and from what I've read, if beachum wasn't the primary back up at EVERY O LINE POSITION, Gilbert would likely be riding the bench. Beachum can't start. He's the back up at almost every position. He's like the 6th man in basketball. Perhaps a better player than some starting, but his value is too great at being the 6th man that it trumps his ability as one of the best 5.

Enjoying this training camp, and looking forward to the answers the preseason games and more camp provide. Feeling good about the squad so far...

Just thought I'd share my opinions thus far about the team I follow most. Please ask questions if you've got them. Perhaps others can offer their in depth views about their own teams. I have questions about other teams, well except green bay parking lambo's under old trees... :)

Andy Freeland
08-08-2013, 10:43 AM
Good stuff Mike. Obviously Jarvis Jones is a good player, but is he a 34 ROLB and will he be ready and reliable on week 1? There's a reason that rookies rarely start on D for the Steelers, that's a complicated defense and usually takes some time to master. Or do you think that they'll just live with mistakes since he's their best option?

08-09-2013, 12:06 AM
Good stuff Mike. Obviously Jarvis Jones is a good player, but is he a 34 ROLB and will he be ready and reliable on week 1? There's a reason that rookies rarely start on D for the Steelers, that's a complicated defense and usually takes some time to master. Or do you think that they'll just live with mistakes since he's their best option?

You're correct, it's a very complicated defense. So much so, I've opined myself there was no way Jones starts this year. However Jones has shown up to camp much more advanced in his ability to execute the scheme than I thought he would be. On the flip Worilds has disappointed me quite a bit. I thought this was his year to break out. Not only has he been hurt, he's been underwhelming from what I expected from a 4th year player.

If Worilds is further injured, Jones is the starter by a landslide. Carter was terrible filling in for Harrison last year, and Robinson is already behind Jones on the depth chart. While he may make mistakes, his disruptive plays far out pace both Carter and Robinson, and he seems to understand the defense at about the same level.

If Worilds manages somehow not to get further injured, he will be our starter to begin the season. Simply for the reason you stated. He gets the scheme, and our coaches almost always go with that 1st and foremost. However if Worilds doesn't increase his level of play, and start making splash plays in games, I believe by game 6 Jones will have enough of the knowledge of the scheme that his play making ability outweighs the fact he doesn't know everything.

Remember this is a defense that's SCREAMING for someone to create splash plays, and he'll be playing on keisels side. That will make coach more comfortable in starting him. Keisel would bridge the gap a little on the run plays, which has been Jones's glaring weakness thus far.

08-11-2013, 03:32 PM
Jarvis did have the advantage of playing a 34 in college. It certainly wasn't nearly as complicated as LeBeau's scheme, but there's something to be said for having at least some familiarity of the vantage point of being a 34 OLB, and playing with his hand off the ground. Most of the OLBs the Steelers have taken had college experience as a hand-on-the-dirt DL, so that one fact I think has played to his advantage, and can give him some confident ground on which to stand.

Jones showed that he has the chance to be dynamic. He also showed that he has a lot to learn. I mentioned in the preseason observation thread the play where he shot the gap, giving David Wilson the edge on a run. It's plays like that where he'll struggle, but he'll also learn. Often times, it takes mistakes to truly learn how to play the game, and it's clear that he's aware that he's got a ton of work left to do. That willingness for honest reflection that he showed after the game is also a very good sign.

As I've said before, the Steelers defense needs to bring that dynamic element back to its game. Jones is more dynamic than Worilds. In my opinion, they need to live through some of the growing pains in order to have him on the field to make those splash plays. And LeBeau is plenty smart enough to put Jones in a better position to succeed, and slowly expand his responsibilities.

Worilds did not have a good game at all. He had the one sack, but seems to be feeling the pressure. At the same time, he's also a better fit than Jones to be able to spell Woodley or Jones on either side of the field. I think they're better off all the way around if Worilds is the 5th LB.

Loved what I saw from LaRod Stephens-Howling, who will be a perfect compliment to Le'Veon Bell. It's looking more and more like only one of Redman and Dwyer will be keeping their job, and my money is currently on Redman, who's a better all-around player.

The starting OL looked pretty good, and Marcus Gilbert in particular seems like he's going to be an excellent fit as the RT in a ZBS.

The WR corps will be more than fine with Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. I think Sanders is in line for a great year. Markus Wheaton looks dynamic, and may beat out Cotchery for the slot role. Although I have no idea what Wheaton was doing on that punt return, where he took out Stevenson Sylvester's knee 3 seconds after the play ended. Also, I really like what I saw from Justin Brown.

Was it me, or does Reggie Dunn look a lot like Reggie Cobb? I'm not sure what potential he has as a WR, but I think he has a chance to immediately become one of the dynamic kick returners in the game.

I apologize to everyone who watched that game on NFLN, and were subjected to the Steelers' TV broadcast team. Their entire production was an embarrassment, all the way down to the terrible classical music they were playing into each commercial break. I'm not a fan of Bob Pompeani and Edmund Nelson either. However, the radio team of Bill Hillgrove and Tunch Ilkin is quite good. I wish they'd find a way to do a TV/radio simulcast, much like Baltimore does with their preseason telecasts.

08-11-2013, 07:51 PM
The starting OL looked pretty good, and Marcus Gilbert in particular seems like he's going to be an excellent fit as the RT in a ZBS.

To clarify, it was the run blocking that looked decent. Pass protection still has some work to do. What else is new, on that front.

08-22-2013, 02:50 AM
The o line looked like hot garbage this game. Struggling to adjust to a new scheme. It's most apparent in passing plays, especially with all the blitzes the skins brought. They dont have the synergy that's necessary to play zone yet. They don't know what their assignment should be and how to hand off assignments based on scheme. It was all keystone cops, with pouncey getting completely handled, and the tackles looking terrible, mixed with stupid penalties. I'm hoping they work out the miscommunications and get in sync soon. If not, our season is sunk.

Our season is 100% dependant on how the o line performs. As goes Ben, so does our team. That depends on the line. Our defense is going to do what it always does under lebeau. He always finds a way. Ben is the determining factor to that end, and his success is directly tied to how well the line does.

All that said, it seems the coaches WANT Jarvis Jones to WIN the starting spot. He's been given ample opportunity. Worilds got pulled after the first series. In playing time Jones has been as good at dropping in coverage (if not better) and as good at anchoring the run. He's been far better at rushing the passer, and TONS better at rushing the passer and making plays.

He's always around the ball. He makes splash plays, A LOT. Worilds hasn't. And he's Worilds equal in every other part of the game, sans being a guy who makes splash plays.

Seems to me the coaches feel the same way I do. Worilds got given the inside track and he pissed it away, while the rook has out played him every step of the way. Worilds may understand the scheme much better, but that alone doesn't neutralize the fact Jarvis is a better football player. The games have said as much...

Jarvis will be the starter soon enough. He's already shown quite demonstrably, given the circumstances he's the better player. Worilds knowledge of the scheme doesn't trump Jones' ability to make plays. It may take a couple games, but by week 6 Jones is the starter, unless Worilds REALLY turns his game up. Thus far the coaches expect Jones to overtake Worilds , and they expect it very soon.