Thoughts From Steelers’ Day One Mini-Camp

Todd Haley could be a front runner in Arizona.As Bob Labriola described in his comments after today’s first mini-camp session came to a end, these three days are often analogous to the last three days of school. For the players, many of whom have been through rookie camp and then OTA’s, this is the end before the real fun begins on July 27th. I think it’s a fair assessment by Labriola because many of the players are anxious to return home and even the coaches are ready for a bit of a break before things get serious.

As you know, I don’t do a whole lot of ‘Steelers’ News’ as I’m much more into analysis and opinion, but these are my thoughts from the first day of mini-camp…

  • Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was in attendance today although he didn’t participate following his minor knee surgery last week. Video of Roethlisberger chatting with Head Coach Mike Tomlin struck me as Roethlisberger looks noticeably thinner than he did at any time last season. He commented afterward that the surgery went well and had this been the regular season he probably could play this Sunday.
  • New Offensive Line Coach Jack Bicknell Jr said after the practice today that depth is his biggest concern. He feels good about the starting five but is very worried about depth behind Kelvin Beachum who might be the top back-up at each of the three line positions.
  • Both Ben and Todd Haley said they both feel a heck of lot better about the offense heading into year two. Roethlisberger said Haley was willing to change some terminology in order to simplify things for tight ends and receivers. Haley also said that he feels everyone is way ahead of where they were at this point last year.
  • Wearing sunglasses that made him look more like the sadistic guard from ‘Cool Hand Luke’ Mike Tomlin was very pleased with the work today. They focused on two-minute scenarios and he mentioned that Bruce Gradkowski did an excellent job.
  • Running Backs’ Coach Kirby Wilson said Jonathan Dwyer is still listed at number one on the depth chart despite thinking that rookie Le’Veon Bell may ascend to that position. Wilson made it very clear that backs who don’t block don’t play. He was referring specifically to pass protection which is something that Bell did well in college.
  • Rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton was absent as per rules stating that because his classes at Oregon State are not over yet.

Check back tomorrow for more from day two of the 2013 Steelers’ Mini-Camp.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.



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