The first OTA session of the 2012 season gets underway next week for the Pittsburgh Steelers and there will be several things to look for as a result. Below are five initial things that I will be looking for as the reports from the organized sessions start to surface.
Tackles – Willie Colon has been moved to left guard now and although both David DeCastro and Mike Adams will reportedly not be present because of the silly graduation requirement rules. Where Marcus Gilbert lines up at will confirm the speculation that he will indeed be playing right tackle this year. Also without Adams in attendance will Jonathan Scott get the first team work at left tackle in absence with Trai Essex indeed getting the second team reps? Above is what we expect to happen, but we shall see if we get it.
Corner Rotation – With William Gay now off to Arizona we expect Keenan Lewis to get the first team reps at the left cornerback spot. Second year cornerback Cortez Allen should give him so good competition this summer for the starting job though. Also will Allen get the first team reps at the nickel spot or will Curtis Brown get the nod there. Allen was able to see the field some last year as an extra defensive back mostly in dime situations so it should not surprise if he is the first team nickel.
Worilds Side – We know that Jason Worilds saw time at both left and right outside linebacker due to injuries last year, but with LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison now both healthy and expected to be in attendance next week, we will watch and see if Worilds gets the second team reps on the left or right side initially and if he gets work at both over the course of the practices.
Running back Rotation – We fully expect Isaac Redman will get the first team reps, but will it be Jonathan Dwyer or John Clay as the next man up and how are the reps divided up after that point. Will Baron Batch get first crack at the third down role if that is even worked on this week?
Use Of The Tight End/Fullback – With Todd Haley comes his offense that he designs around his personnel. Former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians used quite a bit of two and three tight end personnel groupings over the course of the last few seasons and it will be interesting to see if Haley opts to use two tights on the line or one and a fullback in the form of David Johnson or Will Johnson. Also if he does use a second tight end, will that player be used more as a joker type?