July 28, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) observes drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
There is a smorgasbord of Steelers articles from both Pittsburgh papers. It looks like all the beat reporters have come back from vacation and are gearing up for training camp. Here we go.
A Fork in the Road
Ed Bouchette, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, assesses that the Steelers have multiple (ok, at least two) paths they can take this year. Bouchette lists the reasons that brought the Steelers to the fork and then the reasons for hoping that the Steelers choose a successful path out of the fork. He starts with Ben Roethlisberger and then points out 2012’s high-rated defense. Then he runs through the multitude of questions facing the team, none that I think anyone would argue with.
Alan Robinson of the Tribune Review also posted an article looking at what the Steelers are facing. He looks at the many changes to the Steelers roster, including the coaches and wonders if the new coaches will “tinker” or overhaul their areas. I haven’t seen much on that front lately and I think it is a valid question. In my mind it all starts with the head coach – does Tomlin give them the freedom to do things with their players in a “whatever it takes to win” mentality or does he prescribe the steps these coaches will follow? These coaches all have their unique skill sets and I think Tomlin might have been more hands-on with the hiring this year. It will be interesting to see if any changes can be attributed to the new staff.
Bouchette’s second article outlines 5 story lines to watch while the Steelers are in training camp. He uses some humorous subtitles to examines the issues that the Steelers must overcomes, such as how to restart the running game and how to handle cohesion among the players. Bouchette makes the points that have come up many times during this offseason; he just packages many of them together.
Dink and Dunk Versus the Long Ball
Alan Robinson looks at the passing elements of the offense quoting Pro Football Focus’ analysis of Roethlisberger’s passes from 2011 and 2012. According to that analysis, Roethlisberger threw 1/3 fewer deep passes from 2011 to 2012. Robinson is interested to see just how much Haley tinkered with the offensive game plan and if he plan to go back to asking Roethlisberger to throw some more long bombs. Robinson contends that these long bombs are what truly make Big Ben, Big Ben. I think it is a little more than just the deep passes. I think part of Big Ben’s persona is the ability to scramble out of a tackle, shake off defenders, and extend the play unlike most other quarterbacks. He took more sacks than anyone else and it wasn’t always the fault of the offensive line, which was perpetually injured. It’s all a cycle. The longer the line has to hold back defenders, the more likely they are to get injuries to their knees and ankles. The longer Ben tries to wait to the last minute the more likely he is to meet a thundering defender. The more he tries to stay upright, the more likely he is to have knee tweaks or ankle rolls. So, while I love to see the long pass – there really is nothing like it – I think the dink and dunk has a place if you want to keep Roethlisberger available for the whole season. I too am interested to see how the offensive has been adjusted and I hope Haley and Roethlisberger have learned from each other.
Training Camp Primer
If you are planning to go to St Vincent’s to catch the Steelers training camp, there is a lot of information about on the internet. The PPG put together a primer of information about parking, hours, etc.
Virtual Training Camp Primer
The PPG put together a list of Steelers who are on Twitter so you can start following them through training camp and beyond. It may not be a complete list, just some of the popular ones. It includes some players who tweet frequently and others who rarely tweet. They also list all their beat reporters. I found I already followed 90% of them.
That’s it for today.
Let us know what you liked and what you didn’t. Any comments on things you want to see in the Huddle are helpful.