Welcome to the new Steel City Blitz Steelers Training Camp Tidbits presented by Taps N’At! This is a brand new feature this year and every single day from now until the end of Camp you’ll see tidbits right here. Our goal is simple; provide you with everything we are seeing, hearing and learning from St. Vincent College in Latrobe.
Steelers Practice for Saturday: 2:55pm ET
Latrobe Weather for Saturday: 77 degrees and partly cloudy.
Important Note for Saturday, July 28: The Westmoreland County Air Show will be taking place at nearby Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, beginning at 11:00am. Due to this, for fans going out to St. Vincent early to check out some of the other festivities before practice, tailgaiting, congregating or general loitering in the parking lot areas will not be permitted.
Since tailgaiting won’t be permitted tomorrow, it’s the prefect day to check out our ‘Tidbits’ sponsor Taps N’At for a cold brew and great food! 152 N. Bank St in nearby Derry! Happy Hour is 4-6pm so beat the traffic and get there!
Hall of Honor
On Saturday at 1:00pm, the Steelers will have an event at St. Vincent College to unveil their 2018 Hall of Honor inductees. The Hall of Honor began last year with an initial class featuring 27 members. For that initial class, the 23 Steelers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame were joined by L.C. Greenwood, Dick Hoak, Andy Russell, and Donnie Shell. In order to be eligible for the Steelers Hall of Honor, former players, coaches, and staff must meet 3 criteria:
- Retired for at least three seasons
- Must have played for the Steelers for a minimum of three seasons
- Should possess noteworthy career highlights, records, and achievements
Notable Steelers greats like Troy Polamalu and Hines Ward will be eligible this year. Former staff members like Bill Nunn who revolutionized college scouting and was responsible for some of the Steelers best draft classes of the 1970s is also eligible. Will the selection committee continue to focus on the foundational generation of Steelers players or will they add more recent players like Polamalu or Alan Faneca this time? The 2018 class will likely feature 4 or 5 individuals. Hit us up on Twitter with your best guesses:
The 2018 inductees to the @steelers Hall Of Honor will be announced at 1pm today. Which 4-5 people do you think will be inducted? I have provided a link with details of how you can see the ceremony today. https://t.co/NVnTK5W8lf pic.twitter.com/rLlw2iInep
— SteelCityBlitz (@SCBlitz) July 28, 2018
Kevin Colbert Speaks
Kevin Colbert spoke with the media on Friday and covered a variety of topics. The Steelers General Manager did not mince words or pull punches when asked about Le’Veon Bell. Colbert said he feels that missing training camp for any reason is a detriment to a player and he felt like Le’Veon Bell’s 2017 All-Pro season could have been better. This is sentiment we’ve echoed as well – while Bell put up big numbers overall, he was largely ineffective as a runner for the first three weeks and the Steelers couldn’t pick up key first downs against New England in the 4th quarter or in the playoffs against Jacksonville. No one doubts that Bell would be better served being at Training Camp, but it’s a moot point for now because much like last year he won’t enter a Steelers facility until early September.
Colbert also discussed positional depth on defense, specifically at cornerback and inside linebacker. While we were all shocked the Steelers passed on an inside linebacker in the 2018 Draft, the Steelers seem intent on giving Tyler Matakevich a shot to win the role. Jon Bostic is also in the mix and Colbert did mention that the team may still take a look at signing a veteran inside linebacker before the season starts depending on how the preseason goes. At cornerback, Colbert specifically mentioned Brian Allen as a player that needs to show continued improvement. The Steelers have made moves at cornerback during the month of August for the last few years, so Colbert is not afraid to change things up there.
From a football standpoint, those are the most interesting points from Colbert’s press conference. However, the story that will get run by most media outlets is that Colbert supports the way Mike Tomlin runs the team and doesn’t see the “drama” as being a big issue in the locker room. His direct quote was:
“I had no question about our mental preparation, our internal organization, how our team was run. Sure, guys do different things that maybe you don’t like, and Coach Tomlin talks to them about no team business being on social media. Coach Tomlin understands (this generation of) players. He understands younger guys. We have to manage a lot of that stuff, but the ‘team turmoil’ and all that, that was not a concern at all. It’s the whole thing, but there’s no concern whatsoever about our team’s attitude, discipline, all that other stuff that gets talked about.
Absolutely no concern, because I am very comfortable working in this organization and with a head coach that people do not understand. They do not see the Coach Tomlin I see in a meeting room; they do not hear Coach Tomlin talk to his team and watch the players pay attention to him as I do. They do not see him in a one-on-one meeting with a player, whether the player is doing something good or bad. We get into their personal lives a lot, because he cares about them as people as much as he does as players, and that’s very uncommon for (someone in his position) and the demands that are made on him. He’ll go beyond the professional demands to make sure he is doing the best he can for a player personally.” – Kevin Colbert
We have talked about this many times before on the Steel City Blitz Podcast – Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher never had to deal with players having the connectedness and interactiveness of social media. Coaching a professional sports team (or any team for that matter) in 2018 is very different than it was in 1998. That said, there are legitimate questions that can be asked about the team’s preparation for certain games during Tomlin’s tenure, including last year’s Jacksonville game
The Sean Davis Move
The rumblings of the offseason have proven true. Sean Davis has been moved from strong safety to free safety. Davis was quoted saying he feels comfortable in the “centerfield” role and feels there are more interceptions to be had out there. Last year from the strong safety role, Davis had 3 interceptions which tied Ryan Shazier for the team lead. It is also noteworthy that Mike Mitchell had only 4 interceptions during his 4 years with the Steelers. Davis obviously has more of a nose for the ball and (unlike Mitchell) knows how to be in the same zip code as the football. Davis has the speed and range to play free safety, but don’t be surprised to see him in the box at times. The Steelers value position flexibility so you may see Davis and Burnett (or Edmunds) switch roles at times.
Good News of the Day
Ryan Shazier is at camp and walking around. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler posted a short video on twitter:
Ryan Shazier walking with the Steelers linebackers during drills. pic.twitter.com/fGOjo5I7Lk
— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) July 27, 2018