Steelers News: cover-2, Roethlisberger’s potential, injuries

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Steelers training camp is officially underway. For the next few weeks the team will lay the foundation for the 2015 regular season. While the Steelers are sweating in the hot Latrobe sun we’ll be busy looking for mentions of your Black & Gold so we’ve got you covered. Here’s your Steelers Morning Huddle for Wednesday, August 5th.

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Cover-2 Basics

If you’ve heard for the past couple of weeks since the Steelers have opened training camp in Latrobe that they are moving more towards a cover-2 defense and you’ve just nodded along to make it seem like you knew what they were talking about but have no idea former Steelers tackle-turned Steelers Radio Network analyst Tunch Ilkin is here to save the day.

He breaks down the basics for a cover-2 defense in this helpful video and explains why he thinks the Steelers defensive backs will thrive in that environment. The cover-2 defense is the defense that Mike Tomlin comes from with his days coaching in Tampa Bay and Minnesota.

Ilkin says that both safeties Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas, with their athletic abilities, will be able to flourish in this scheme. Before, under Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 zone blitz the Steelers played more of a cover-3 defense, which allowed a versatile and unpredictable safety like Troy Polamalu to line up anywhere on the field for any play. Without a player like Troy, this defense works better with the personnel the Steelers currently employ.

Bettis saw Roethlisberger’s potential

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reminds us that Jerome Bettis shouldn’t really have to give anyone else compliments at this point as he’s just a few days away from becoming part of football’s immortal by being enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Still, he’s taking the time to repeat his appreciation for Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger.

Roethlisberger and Bettis only played two seasons together, and one of them was Ben’s rookie season in 2004. Still, Bettis contends that Ben was and is still underappreciated.

"“We knew he was special. You could see it. He was limited in terms of his opportunities. It wasn’t even a question mark. When you have players like that, even if numbers don’t say it, you see it. Some of the passes he threw, I was like, ‘Whoa.’ I’ve been around some quarterbacks, but he’s different – like, even having the thought to throw to that particular guy. I’m glad now he’s getting the chance to showcase that.” – Jerome Bettis"

Mitchell played through the pain

Steelers safety Mike Mitchell took a lot of heat last season for showing up as the highly touted free agent acquisition and underperforming the majority of the season. The Trib’s Mark Kaboly explains just how much pain Mitchell played through last year and how this season will be different.

Immediately following the season it was learned that Mitchell had played through torn groins that caused him discomfort the majority of the season. It was actually both of his abductor muscles that were detached from his pubic bone that there the culprits. He also had a ring finger that was constantly dislocating.

Ouch. Mitchell played in 96 percent of the defensive snaps last season through those injuries. He’s gotten them surgically repaired now, and still won’t use them as excuses, but as reminders that he can do better in the future.

"“As far as where I was ranked compared to the other 32 free safeties in the league, I was nowhere near the worst one. There were a lot of plays out there that I felt I could’ve made if my tendons were attached to my body like most humans. The thing with me is that when I am 100 percent, I feel like I am a really good player.” – Mike Mitchell"

Let’s hope he stays healthy enough this season to show that.

Next: Who are the Steelers' X-men?

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