Lessons Learned from Pittsburgh Steelers Training Camp This Week
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
We're 10 days into the Pittsburgh Steelers' 2012 training camp and there's much to talk about. From how well the team has been learning Todd Haley's new offense to the many changes set to come on defense, the Steelers won't be having a boring training camp this year.
Let's take a look at three things we learned from Steelers camp this week.
Ben Roethlisberger's Shoulder Appears Fine
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and head coach Mike Tomlin both dismissed Roethlisberger's slight tear of the rotator cuff in his throwing arm as nothing serious, and so far in camp it doesn't seem to be bothering him.
Roethlisberger is no longer throwing during walkthroughs, though not as a precaution but rather just as a way to preserve his strength now that he's gotten older. In practices, he's been throwing well, with a variety of passes both deep and short looking tight and accurate.
Though the injury is something worth keeping in mind when the regular season—and the real hitting—starts, it's a good sign that he's in no way limited during training camp.
Examining the Wide Receivers
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Forget Mike Wallace and his holdout—the real action at wide receiver for the Steelers in this year's camp is the battle for the No. 5 spot on the roster.
While the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette believes that seventh-round pick Toney Clemons has the edge, he's still been quite inconsistent during the first week of practices, leaving the competition wide open for Derrick Williams, David Gilreath and Tyler Beiler (a name that just keeps popping up this week, it seems) to snag that final receiver spot.
All four have had trouble pulling down passes that were easily catchable, however, seeming to indicate they all need to work on their concentration. Also not to be forgotten is Marquis Maze, who has made some impressive sideline catches and has done a good job fielding punts and kicks.
Steve McLendon Doing Fine at Nose Tackle
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Though some thought that Steve McLendon would be too undersized to handle the starting nose tackle job while Casey Hampton continued rehabbing his ACL, it looks as though he's doing just fine.
Steelers defensive line coach John Mitchell had nothing but praise for McLendon and his defensive linemates on Thursday, saying that the group "looked like a Steelers defensive line."
McLendon has been practically manhandling both starting center Maurkice Pouncey and backup Doug Legursky so far in camp. Though he will only start this year if Hampton remains sidelined to begin the season, this is likely Hampton's last year, and McLendon has already proven he's a worthy replacement.
Obviously, if McLendon were bigger, that would be a plus, but he's proven himself to have the viciousness and desire to make up for it. If he can throw Pouncey around with ease, then he's certainly put together enough to start at nose tackle in the NFL.
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