The Pittsburgh Steelers closed out their first OTA session of the 2013 season on Thursday and below are ten things that we learned over the course of the week.
Gilbert Makes Blind Side Debut – It didn\’t take long to find out which tackle would get the first reps on the left side as the reports surfaced on day one that Marcus Gilbert was given the first crack at replacing the departed Max Starks at left tackle. Their is speculation that Mike Adams will get his chance on the left side in the future OTA sessions, but for now, Gilbert is the leader in the clubhouse.
Beachum Finds His Center – We knew at some point Kelvin Beachum would likely start to get work at the center position and it appears as though he got quite a bit of it during the first week of OTA\’s. Beachum reportedly received a lot of second team reps over the ball during the three days and even worked with the first team some on Thursday.
Mr. Robinson Changes Neighborhoods – Last preseason, young linebackers Chris Carter and Adrian Robinson received nearly all of their playing time on the right and left sides respectively, but it now appears that they have flipped sides during the Steelers first week of OTA practices. It will be interesting to see if this sticks moving forward, but I for one cant wait to see Robinson attacking the blind side of opposing quarterbacks during the preseason.
M*A*S*H Unit Not Looking Awful – Tight end Heath Miller appears to be on target with his knee rehab, but refused to guarantee he would be ready by the season opener. Safety Troy Polamalu revealed that he is really making a concerted effort to get past the calf problems that have plagued him for four years. Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones was limited all week after aggravating a hamstring injury and rookie cornerback Terry Hawthorne could be sidelined until the start of training camp after having bone chips removed recently from one of his knees.
Redman Feels The Need For Speed – Running back Isaac Redman showed up this week 10 pounds lighter than he was last season and let everybody know that he is working out with a speed trainer this off-season down in Florida. Redman told the media that he knows it is now or never for him and he appears to be ready for the competition that he will face in training camp for his roster spot.
Cortez Made Of Nickel – Early reports are suggesting that the Steelers intend on using starting outside cornerback Cortez Allen in the slot on nickel downs in 2013 which likely means William Gay will then come in and play outside in that personnel grouping.
Curtis Works With Purple Jesus – Third year cornerback Curtis Brown reportedly worked out with Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson during the off-season and he says that he is working harder than ever, and that he is really studying more film. Brown said that he has added some weight this off-season.
Dunn Droppings – Kick return extraordinaire Reggie Dunn, who signed with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, is apparently struggling with catching punts and this is probably the reason he didn\’t have that job while at Utah.
Ink Bottles For Three Draft Picks – Three more draft picks signed their rookie contracts during the three days of practice as Hawthorne, wide receiver Markus Wheaton and wide receiver Justin Brown all agreed to terms. As expected, Wheaton wasn\’t allowed to practice due to Oregon State being on the quarters system. Those signings now leave the Steelers with only four draft picks unsigned.
Woods Making Some Nose Noise – Defensive end Al Woods reportedly received work at the nose tackle position during the first week of OTA\’s and the speculation is that he actually ran with the second team ahead of both Alameda Ta\’amu and Hebron Fangupo.