Across the NFL landscape right now, many teams are using OTA practices and minicamps to gain a good look at the fruits of their NFL Draft labors from April. For coaches, it’s a great way to get a barometer of the learning curve for these players when it comes to situational football, be it the weather, a behind-the-chains circumstance, or the two-minute drill.
The latter of those is one in which head coach Mike Tomlin spoke on at an earlier post-practice press conference. He said the team gained some quality looks during today’s minicamp practice, and never one to mince his words, Tomlin voiced his appreciation again of these opportunities, even complimenting the weather, stating a little rain wouldn’t be a bad thing, as the elements of harsh weather indeed are involved in playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“The formal communication, play-caller to signaler on both sides,” Tomlin said via the Steelers Official YouTube Channel. “But also, the informal things after that formal discussion gets had, information recognition, MIKE identification, from a protection standpoint, there’s a lot of communication that has to happen in a tight amount of time and those drills provide opportunities for those guys to sharpen his skills in that area.“
With only several OTA sessions left, it’ll be important for the younger players to get in as many reps as possible before later this summer, when training camp makes their highly-anticipated return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA. With a shortened preseason, it’s times like this that allow them to get in valuable reps. According to the PPG’s Brian Batko, highlights from today’s session included an impressive interception by safety Tre Norwood and also an acrobatic one-handed catch from one rookie to another, Kenny Pickett to Connor Heyward. Pickett’s drive, however, didn’t end in the end zone either, and it seems Pittsburgh’s defense won the day.
Pickett is the likely favorite to win the starting throne that’s been occupied for 18 seasons by future Hall Of Famer Ben Roethlisberger. However, free agent pickup Mitch Trubisky isn’t likely to go down without some heavy competition, as that battle is likely to be one of the most heavily-scrutinized by many fans and pundits around the league as training camp nears.