Players catching balls on the JUGS machine.
I know, I know. Not a revelation. It’s June guys. I’m doing the best I can.
Still, I’m not gonna lie to you. It’s nice to see the focus on the secondary catching the ball. It’ll be even nicer to see it on game day.
Mike Tomlin gave a relatively lengthy interview following yesterday’s practice, the second of three mandatory minicamp sessions before the team gets one final break before training camp. While most eyes were on what Tomlin had to say, check out was was happening in the background.
Steven Nelson and Mike Hilton take turns on the JUGS machine, catching about a dozen passes post practice.
As we’ve noted many, many times (and will continue to do so), this is a Steelers’ defense, namely the secondary, that has to take away the football this year. Their DBs intercepted only six passes in 2018. Don’t blame a lack of opportunity either. As a defense, they dropped 13-14 picks, the majority of those coming from the secondary. Here’s the drop count from a year ago.
Sean Davis: 4
Joe Haden: 2
Coty Sensabaugh: 1
Artie Burns: 1
Mike Hilton: 1
At the very least, it’s nice to see this group work on it from the get-go. That’s also why the team spent big money, for them, anyway, on Steven Nelson. He intercepted four passes for the Chiefs last year. The Steelers INT leader? Cornerback Joe Haden, with two.
Dating back to 2010, only one Steelers’ defensive back has picked more than three passes in a season. That was Troy Polamalu, who nabbed ten of them in ’10. The last cornerback to do it? Deshea Townsend in 2004. Which yes, is exactly as depressing as it sounds.
So yeah, I’m going to get a little excited when I see this secondary work on their hands. They need all the practice they can get.