After being forced to miss last Thursday’s OTA practice so that he could take part in the annual NFL Rookie Premier event in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Sammie Coates is back at it again this week working on the minor details of his game that will ultimately help him when the team puts the pads on at training camp later this summer.
“Just doing the little things, looking at the ball all the way in,” said Coates, who suffered several drops during his career Auburn, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com. “That is something I have been working on since day one and I am getting better every day.”
In addition to getting great instruction from wide receivers coach Richard Mann so far during his young Steelers career, Coates, who was drafted in the third-round of the 2015 NFL Draft several weeks ago, is also receiving coaching from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as well.
“He is talking to me. He is telling me what I am doing wrong,” said Coates of Roethlisberger’s OTA coaching. “I am learning from watching what he says to the older guys, to the veterans. I am learning from everything they do and every little thing they point out I try to fix it.”
While Coates is guaranteed to make the Steelers roster this season, his place on the depth chart might very well improve over the course of the year depending on how quickly he progresses. Last season, then-rookie wide receiver Martavis Bryant failed to even get a helmet during the team’s first six games as a result of a shoulder injury and inexperience. Once Bryant did finally start dressing for games, however, he produced, and that led to him averaging over 30 snaps of playing time on offense during the remainder of the regular-season.
Will Coates see that much playing time during his rookie season? While unlikely, it’s not impossible. Regardless, he is just a few injuries away from being a near-every-down player and the quicker he can get himself up to speed, the better.
Mentally, Coates appears to headed in the right direction with four OTA practices remaining prior to the teams mandatory minicamp.
“It’s about getting better every day,” said Coates. “I am taking that mentality that I get better every day, putting in the work every day so I can keep making progress so I can do anything I can to help win.”
During his three seasons at Auburn, Coates caught 82 passes for 1,757 yards and 13 touchdowns of which 12 of them were 33 yards or longer in distance.