I’m not sure where Darryl Drake coined the phrase but it’s definitely appropriate for Pittsburgh. Avoid the holes in the road. That’s nugget of coaching information new receiver Donte Moncrief shared in talking about learning the Steelers’ offense. He sat down with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews to discuss the transition.
“He’s always saying about the hole in the left side of the road,” Moncrief said. “If you keep going on the left side of the road, you keep falling into that hole, you’re going to keep making that same mistake. There’s going to be a time where you make that left and say ‘no, go to the right,’ and stop making that same mistake.”
Drake is certainly cut from a similar cloth as the man he replaced, Richard Mann, one of the top position coaches the Steelers have ever had. After the team drafted Diontae Johnson in the 3rd round, Drake was brought in to discuss the selection. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more open and candid interview than that. He went so far as to divulge the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where going to take Johnson a couple picks later had the Steelers not nabbed him.
While Drake is a little more lenient in some aspects, he once said in a clinic not to penalize a receiver for catching the ball with his body, it’s clear he doesn’t want to see the same issues in practice on a daily basis.
“Every day, don’t come out here and make the same mistakes,” Moncrief said. “Pick up from your mistake and do something right.”
And that’s the mark of quality coaching. Every receiver is going to make mistakes. They all have room for improvement, especially such a young room. Of the roster locks or those right on the bubble, no wideout is older than 26. It’s about not repeating mistakes and showing consistent progression. So by training camp, the basic issues are ironed out and the team can roll full speed into the regular season.
Moncrief is expected to fill the “X” receiver role formerly held by Antonio Brown. He comes over by way of Jacksonville, catching 48 passes for 668 yards and three scores last season.
This is a city known for its infamous left turn. If Moncrief can avoid those on the roads, and those lefts on the practice field, he’ll be an asset for the offense.