With six organized team activities behind them at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, things are starting to ramp up this week for new Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterbacks Mitch Trubisky, Kenny Pickett, and Chris Oladokun as mandatory minicamp is underway.
Now that the initial install of the playbook is behind them, Trubisky, Pickett, and Oladokun are focused on being more precise and clear during minicamp, according to quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan, especially in the huddle and at the line of scrimmage as the Steelers now find themselves in situations in which 11-on-11 is allowed under league rules.
Sullivan, speaking with reporters Tuesday following a rain-soaked minicamp practice, stated that things are starting to move forward for the new quarterbacks on the roster, especially as the team progresses towards full-on practice sessions.
“Right now, new system, they have to learn what’s new,” Sullivan said to reporters Tuesday, according to video via the Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski. “From a logistical standpoint, white-belt level. How do we progress to blue, purple, brown and black and have that mastery. Really, the challenge this week will be, you know we’ve had six OTAs, we’ll have some 11-on-11 out there today, it’s how can we be very, very precise, starting in the huddle?
“Being clear, concise, having that command pre-snap,” Sullivan added. “We’re going to do a lot of shifts and motions. And then that next step will be pressure defenses, being able to identify protection adjustments, being able to see what some of the tells are. Again, our defense is phenomenal with coverage disguise. And then we can talk about, it’s that first second-and-a-half after the ball is snapped where we have to determine, ‘are we going this side? Or are we going this side?’ Are we taking the right kind of footwork? Because the longer in the down, bad things tend to happen.
“So for this week, it’s going to see, can we take that next step in do we understand what to do, or why and how? And then how can we bring that to the next level.”
There’s certainly a lot to unpack there from Sullivan, a noted quarterback guru that is very precise and authoritative when it comes to the basics for the position. That’s why he has the developmental reputation that he has, having spent time with Eli Manning in New York, while also getting a career year out of Case Keenum in Denver in 2018.
With three new faces in the room — two of them rookies — Sullivan has his work cut out for him. Starting with the basics though and slowly building them up throughout the offseason seems to be a good plan so far. We’ll see how the new faces under center progress this week in the final installment before a long break leading into training camp in late July.
Having three new quarterbacks to work with in the same offseason can be a bit of a challenge, but Sullivan has a plan in place, which includes taking small baby steps right now within the system overall before the big push in training camp. He’s a stickler for mechanics and doing things the right way, and that shines in his comments regarding the minicamp phase for the new quarterbacks, preaching the proper footwork overall, not to mention the between-the-ears stuff that tends to separate the great quarterbacks from good, and the good from the average.
Sullivan is the right man for the job, which can appear daunting overall with three new faces — two of them rookies. He’s an experienced QB coach though, and has his ways of managing multiple quarterbacks overall. How well his offseason process will work in the end remains to be seen, but there’s a clear plan in place, which is great news for all involved.