I’ve mentioned it so many times it’s something that should be stamped on this website. It’s the offseason, a time when every team has optimism over every player. Still, it’s worth noting any sort of news, even the optimistic side, during this portion of the year.
In an article examining the options to replace Martavis Bryant, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler gave us a few nuggets on Sammie Coates and Eli Rogers.
Fowler writes that Coates has gotten in much better shape during the spring.
“After making minimal impact his rookie year, Coates intensified his training, lost some weight and earned the coaches’ trust during the offseason.”
Conditioning, though an issue for almost every rookie, was noticed by Mike Tomlin during last year’s preseason and in March, told Fowler he wasn’t in the best shape he could’ve been.
Tomlin has always preached strong conditioning as a foundation for strong play, even affirming that today in a Steelers.com mini-preview of OTAs, which kick off tomorrow. Coates will need to be in the greatest shape of his life, given an awesome opportunity to replace Bryant and serving as the team’s #3 receiver. He gave fans a glimpse of his talent in the playoff loss to Denver but consistency and trust, the word Fowler used and the one that should be circles, are vital.
Fowler also noted the Steelers were “high” on Eli Rogers during the offseason and preseason in 2015 before suffering a foot injury before the Hall of Fame game. His path onto the roster will come as a return man though the Steelers decision to draft Demarcus Ayers specifically for that purpose muddies things up a bit.
As it has felt like for each of the past several seasons, the Steelers will enter camp with an excellent group of wide receivers, even knowing Bryant won’t be apart of that group. There is projection with Ayers, Rogers, and Coates, but creating that kind of competition across the board – Coates vs Heyward-Bey, Ayers vs Rogers – will bring the best out of the room. Whoever cracks the roster and lineup will have certainly earned it.