Behind the Steel Curtain, a Pittsburgh Steelers community
Like us to subscribe
BTSC's Dale Grdnic's interview with Steelers defensive lineman Al Woods back during training camp is particularly relevant now, considering the free agent to be could be considered a top target for the Steelers to retain before free agency begins. Look back on what Woods was saying at the time.
Many felt the team would be lacking veteran leadership necessary to make a championship roster out of untested and unproven young prospects. The receivers feel they already have theirs.
From Marcus Gilbert's dramatic conditioning test to scores of injuries, here's a look back at the Steelers' 2013 Training Camp.
Veterans like Jerricho Cotchery prove players do not have to lead their team in statistical categories to lead them in the locker room and on the field, even if it is from the sidelines.
Coach Mike Tomlin's view on football in shorts became the butt of many-a joke during the off-season, but it played an vitally important role in a physical training camp which hosts its final practice on Saturday.
Steelers rookie running back LeVeon Bell returned to practice Friday in full capacity to prepare with the team for the upcoming preseason game against the Redskins this Monday night.
Cortez Allen has missed nearly all of training camp, but he returned in non-contact drills Friday. He isn't expected to play much, if any, in the Steelers' remaining three preseason games.
A seemingly odd decision for the former Louisville running back to enter the NFL Draft turned out to be a poor one; he wasn't selected, and has since been cut by the Giants - possibly due to injury. Still, Jeremy Wright's return abilities may be what the Steelers want in the rookie.
Beachum will get snaps at center in the Steelers' second preseason game, Monday at the Redskins.
Thursday saw Steelers halfbacks dropping almost as quickly as A.J. Burnett was giving up runs.
The injuries of Le'Veon Bell and Isaac Redman were laced in remnants of 2012 in terms of finding enough healthy bodies to finish out the preseason. Neither of their injuries are thought to be significant, but it's possible they miss some time.
Several Steelers went down in Thursday's training camp practice. Le'Veon Bell and Isaac Redman left the team thin at running back and Jarvis Jones tweaked his groin.
BTSC's Rebecca Rollett is reporting RB Le'Veon Bell suffers a knee injury in practice Thursday during practice at Steelers training camp.
Le'Veon Bell may wind up the lone starter for the Steelers when they meet the Redskins on Monday night after Isaac Redman gets lit up by Larry Foote.
In week one, some rising stars went supernova while others began to fall from view. When the Steelers meet the Redskins on Monday, these seven players need to shine brighter than the rest.
As Steelers training camp draws nearer to its end in 2013, veteran Brett Keisel realizes this could be his last trip to Saint Vincent's campus.
One preseason game and a few training camp practices are not enough to fully gauge a rookie's potential, but national media outlets aren't buying into the hype over the Steelers draft class thus far.
The Steelers gave wide receiver Antonio Brown a big contract extension after just two seasons with the team, partly because he was the team's MVP in 2011, but, as general manager Kevin Colbert noted, he has a strong work ethic. He's passing what he knows onto rookie UDFA WR J.D. Woods.
BTSC writer Christopher Carter was in Latrobe for the Steelers' practice session Wednesday, and he kept a notebook of the events.
Steelers cornerback Curtis Brown is back after an ankle injury early in camp. His timing is perfect; the depth at the cornerback position is one of the key questions still to be answered.
The blocked punt which led to a Giants field goal may not have been Drew Butler's fault, but evidently it will be held against him as Brian Moorman shares his spot on the depth chart as punter and holder.
Steelers kicker Shaun Suisham hit from 60 yards in the Steelers' practice Wednesday afternoon.
One muffed punt may have not only cost David Gilreath his spot on the receiving depth chart, but also his spot as a punt returner, which now belongs to rookie Reggie Dunn.
Despite his best public performance as a member of the Steelers, 2012 fourth-round draft pick Alamdea Ta'amu remains behind free-agent signing Hebron Fangupo behind Steve McLendon on the depth chart.
The latest Steelers depth chart seems to highlight the position battles to be fought in the team's second preseason game against the Redskins, one being the fight to backup Troy Polamalu.
Isaiah Green has not played like just another camp body since joining the Steelers. Now, he is climbing the depth chart, by passing last year's camp surprise Josh Victorian.
With Guy Whimper no longer in the picture for left tackle, the battle to backup Mike Adams will take place between D'Anthony Batiste and Joe Long.
David Gilreath muffed a punt return in the Steelers first preseason which not only gave the Giants the ball back, it also cost Gilreath his spot on the depth chart.
In the wake of the injury to guard Justin Cheadle, the Guy Whimper experiment at tackle seems to be over as he is officially listed at left guard on the team's most recent depth chart.
The rookie running back moves one step closer to being the man in Pittsburgh, as Le'Veon Bell reaches co-starter status with Isaac Redman on the team's latest depth chart.
It wasn't long ago that players like Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Steve McLendon were just trying to make the Steelers star-studded roster. Now, with most of Pittsburgh's recent Super Bowl heroes retired and out of football, guys like Brown have become the leaders of the team, and there's certainly no question that a new era of Steelers football is upon us.
It's still far from a sure thing, but the fact Steelers linebacker Sean Spence hasn't been placed on injured reserve - he's on the PUP list - keeps a Lloyd Christmas-like one-in-a-million chance of playing in 2013. The athleticism the Steelers inside linebackers group would have is exciting.
Including Wednesday, the Steelers have four practices left until training camp breaks for the 2013 season. Who needs to show the most this week in order to make the team?
Filling the spot vacated by Plaxico Burress, who was placed on injured reserve following shoulder surgery, Shaw's success at the Division II level in both football and track make him an intriguing prospect.
Despite an assumption from the national media, neither the Steelers nor Heath Miller have set a date for the return of the injured tight end.
Injured players need to get back on the field if the Steelers are to seriously consider them for roster spots. No one can make the club from the tub.
While the Steelers continue to work on depth problems at offensive tackle and tight end, they used the roster spot vacated by Plaxico Burress on another wide receiver.
Plaxico Burress may have broke his career when he tore his rotator cuff, but his season is officially over. Perhaps depth at his position plays a part as Matt Spaeth may be looking at a second chance.
Alameda Ta'amu knows his career was almost cut short last year with his off-field mistakes. He also knows that he needs to improve if he's going to ever be remembered for anything other than a wasted fourth round 2012 draft pick for Pittsburgh. Cameron Heyward is helping him see his mission through.
Or, if they've found it, it gets injured shortly afterward, leading to a free agent signing that doesn't appear to be above grade. The Steelers may have to dip back into the free agent market to find another offensive tackle.
A Post-Gazette report Tuesday suggests the Steelers aren't in the market for another tight end. The reason strongly indicates the return of Heath Miller is close.
Who got luckier Saturday night when Stevenson Sylvester injured his ankle making his status 'day-to-day': Sylvester, or the rest of the Steelers inside linebackers competing for jobs?
The injury bug has apparently finished its tour of the rest of the Steelers roster, because its finally caught up with the offensive line.
While the play goes down as an example of blown coverage, the result of a guess, according to Polamalu, having him healthy and guessing is better than having him injured doing anything.
A sign is now affixed outside the entrance to the Steelers locker room reading "The Standard ... is the standard." Whether that's pointed directly at the tight ends position group is a different story, but it rings even more true.
Steelers' 10th year safety Troy Polamalu says the team lost the family atmosphere and camaraderie it had in previous seasons. This year, though, those things are being rebuilt.
With all due respect to the pundits, the division race isn't determined yet...
A complicated injury to the foot of tight end Matt Spaeth puts the Steelers in trouble at the position heading into their preseason opener Saturday.
Momentum is starting to build on the Steelers heading into 2013.
Backs-on-backers in coverage, Markus Wheaton with another good day, bad news for Plaxico Burress, and the only thing hotter than the weather was the Pirates.
There aren't many appealing free agents available on the market, meaning Saturday's preseason game against the Giants becomes even bigger for the group of young fringe-roster receivers the Steelers have.
Reports came in Thursday night to confirm that Burress injury during practice was a torn rotator cuff and that he will likely miss the season.
With three of their top tight ends out of action nursing injuries, the Steelers have added another healthy camp body to the positional ranks; but at the expense of another TE prospect.
Perhaps the injuries themselves aren't severe, but the frequency in which they appear to be happening has to alarm fans and meteorologists alike.
Burress was carted off the field with the injury, but there is no word as to the extent of it.
The news surrounding Steelers second year linebacker Sean Spence gets better and better. Now, a reporter sees him working out, and opines he didn't look like he'd miss the season.
Steelers' running back coach Kirby Wilson comments on what the Steelers are looking for in 2013 from his department. Hint: it's not what it was in 2012.
The Steelers release one player and sign another, tight end Nathan Overbay, possibly to get someone prepared in the event of further depth problems at the tight end position.
Add OC Todd Haley's name to the list of those who believe the 2012 Steelers were better than their final numbers represented, especially their running game. He believes their biggest fault was predictability.
Amid a somewhat surprising position battle, Steelers fourth round pick Landry Jones eyes a big game against the Giants Saturday to maintain distance between himself and John Parker Wilson.
The Steelers just got thinner at an already thin position. When they open the preseason against the Giants, those left standing will be forced to carry the weight.
NFL preseason rosters are full of young men looking for opportunities to prove themselves worthy of roster consideration. Two such players will get all the opportunity they can handle if Spaeth misses time.
With injuries always just one play away, most coaches try to keep their starters off the field as much as possible during the preseason, however both the Giants and Steelers still have questions to be answered in their opening game.
As training camp continues, rookie Markus Wheaton's work ethic and understanding of the offense is easing his integration into the Pittsburgh offense.
Spaeth, signed this offseason to bolster depth at a position without Heath Miller (knee surgery), wasn't seen by many on hand, but some did confirm he was taken off the field on a cart.
The Steelers swapped out depth running backs and added another cornerback ahead of Saturday's preseason opener against the Giants.
Early into Pittsburgh's 2013 off-season they released RB Chris Rainey because of off-field incidents. In April - during the NFL draft - the Steelers signed western Pennsylvania native, former University of Pittsburgh and Arizona Cardinals running back, LaRod Stephens-Howling. How does Stephens-Howling fit into the Steelers’ plans?
Undrafted rookie cornerback Josh Victorian was signed off the practice squad by the Steelers and thrown into the starting lineup in a Week 15 game against Dallas last season. While Victorian didn't help Pittsburgh clinch a playoff spot, the experience he gained down the stretch in 2012 may pay off if he has to step in this season and once again fill a major role in a banged up secondary.
Any seniority Ta'amu held with the Steelers for being a fourth-round draft pick last season is now gone, as Fangupo has seized the spot behind starter McLendon while Ta'amu recovered from a hamstring injury.
Practice may make perfect, but actual games make roster decisions. The Steelers have a receiving roster full of uncertainties, which will begin sorting itself out in the first week of preseason action.
While most gave up on Sylvester when the team allowed him to walk rather than offer him a restricted free-agency tender this season, evidently the Steelers never counted him out.
How much value will the Steelers place on the fourth-round draft pick spent to acquire a quarterback if only ends up being their fourth-best passer?
Both Mike Golic Jr. and Ramon Foster are among three pairs of NFL veterans and rookies who are featured in Gillete's #BuiltforTraining campaign.
Experience as a coach helps understand the challenges of caring enough about players to make them hate you at times. That's the task in front of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin this year. And it's winning Tomlin respect.
The Steelers are on the field longer, hitting more often and ushering in a new era of Steelers football.
In which the author learns the parameters for bringing children to camp and sees an awesome field goal competition.
Heading into an off-day, the Steelers saw multiple players, cornerbacks and linebackers in particular, getting the day off due to injuries.
There's a lot for a center to know, so there's a reason to give Pouncey a pass for not realizing the team's offensive tackles, Mike Adams (left) and Marcus Gilbert (right) had switched sides.
While his right knee, subject of recent surgery, is "improving," Allen is expected to miss nearly all of the remaining preseason. The Steelers won't give specifics on Allen's surgery, it seems similar to the description given after rookie cornerback Terry Hawthorne's surgery in May.
Another cornerback sustains an injury when Curtis Brown was carted off the field with an ankle injury.
A slight dust-up between combatants who are used to post-whistle training camp spats with each other was highlighted by Brown's performance Monday.
He returns to practice to see his first action of the 2013 season.
Pittsburgh has one of its best starting offensive lines in recent memory. That same memory suggests depth is as important as the starting group. The Steelers are still struggling to find it after the first week of camp.
Football Outsiders talks about the Steelers defense in 2011 vs. 2012, Antonio Brown and what we can expect from Ben Roethlisberger this season.
Onlookers have noticed changes in how Steelers training camp operates this year, when compared to camps of previous seasons. While speculation leads many to wonder if these are because the team missed the playoffs in 2012, Tomlin maintains to the contrary.
The Steelers running game may lend itself to stretch runs in a zone scheme, but there will still be times when the offensive linemen will simply have to beat the man across from them. According to Steelers running back Isaac Redman, that happened far too infrequently last year.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin passively states the age of safety Troy Polamalu had a big part in him not participating in practice Sunday.
In a Tomlinesque statement, Steelers cornerback Cortez Allen said his rehabilitation following minor knee surgery is best taken "day-to-day."
Why shouldn't the Steelers increase the tempo of their offense in 2013? Ben Roethlisberger wonders that, and with the right personnel packages, it could be the boost this group needs.
What's done is done as far as 2012 goes, but it's fair to question why Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has ratcheted up tackling, extended the length of practice and taken away certain comforts in this training camp.
Multiple players were held out of Saturday's practice that included the goal line drill.
His reputation early in his career, though, is spreading to the point one beat writer suggests he'd be worried if Bell's injury was something extended - it's not being seen as anything serious.
Another practice seems to mean more attention-grabbing headlines generated by Steelers rookie running back Le'Veon Bell. He may be generating more hype than Mike Wallace did in 2009.
He hasn't said "comeback," but Hood's performance Friday could be indicative of a breakout year for the former first round pick.
Both were undrafted out of non-BCS schools, but UDFA OLB Alan Baxter is out-performing second-year OLB Adrian Robinson, one training camp removed from Robinson's eye-opening set of practices in 2012.
Depth at offensive tackle was a concern going into this season, and the signing of Guy Whimper did little to lift that concern. Even holding a workout for Batiste, the college teammate of Steelers CB Ike Taylor, seems like another step in the wrong direction.
The Steelers got confirmation of an ACL and MCL tear of Nik Embernate and surgery for Cortez Allen. Jason Worilds also missed Friday's session with a big toe injury.
After a horrendous year in Arizona, Batiste finds himself without a job.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin stresses the need for position flexibility in moving Adams to left tackle, and putting Gilbert back on right side.
Steelers rookie safety had never heard of the cult movie "Sharknado," but that became his nickname anyway. He told BTSC Friday he is ok with it, as long as it gets the fans excited.
Younger players got involved and were making plays as a few veterans rested on Day 6 of training camp in Latrobe.
After taking a one-year 'vacation', Gay is done taking the heat not only from the Arizona heat but also from his own family. They knew where he belonged, and now he's back home and in their good graces.
Just when the Steelers thought they might elude the injury bug for a season, the pest has begun to bite once again. This time, it took a pretty big bite out of another very promising prospect.
Evidently, Greg Warren's job is safe as the team waves his camp competition to bring in a healthy body to play defensive back - a healthy body which has played in Heinz Field before.
There have been a few newsmakers in the team's first week of practice, but Le'Veon Bell is the clubhouse leader after just a few sessions. LaMarr Woodley's comments today put him in the running for the day's crown.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert talks on 93.7 the Fan about the team's youth on the offensive line.
Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley has seen a decreased amount of pass rush opportunities in the past few seasons in Dick LeBeau's defense; something that he hopes changes this season.
It has been noted that Mike Tomlin has required offensive linemen to wear knee braces during training camp. Why would Tomlin feel this is a necessary precaution, and maybe more interestingly, why wouldn't the linemen want to take all of the necessary precaution?
In which the author enjoys a kickoff and a garbage can competition, as well as some actual football plays.
The rookie safety got burned on a play-action pass from Bruce Gradkowski to Plaxico Burress. It was a learning moment for Thomas.
The last thing the Steelers needed was another injured tight end, but that's what they got for re-signing David Johnson. He could return before camp is over, but he is losing valuable ground in his position battle.
Not long ago, Timmons was a rookie buried behind entrenched starters. Today he's passing along what he has learned about climbing the ladder to a rookie in the same situation.
It appears running back Le'Veon Bell may have the early upper hand in the battle for the Steelers' starting running back position after an impressive practice Wednesday.
Van Dyke was already skating uphill on thin ice in the defensive backs competition in training camp, but with an injured hamstring which is evidently worse than originally hoped, the ice may be starting to crack.
When the team began running live hitting drills on Wednesday, it was all about the run; although it quickly became all about the defense.
Coach Tomlin insists players aren't missing time for precautionary rest. Every second lost is an open door for someone else to grab the spotlight.
in twelve seasons as a linebacker in the NFL, Foote has learned he does not like watching post-season football on television. He knows it's a game of inches, and every single one must be earned.
Practice kicks off at 2:55 p.m. ET, we'll have updates and conversation throughout the day.
After rookie running back LeVeon Bell got a chance to run with the first offensive unit, some thought that was meant to be a warning to Jonathan Dwyer and Isaac Redman; Tomlin says otherwise.
Mike Tomlin has made it a requirement for all Steelers' offensive linemen to wear knee braces throughout training camp.
Many people ask how Antonio Brown can fill in for Mike Wallace in terms of being a key receiver for the Steelers. It's not Brown, it's Emmanuel Sanders who needs to accept a larger role.
Looking at who's most likely to make the team provides some insight behind who is on the fringe as training camp gets back underway today.
The Steelers will practice at 2:55 p.m. ET Wednesday as the roster continues to take early shape. Their first preseason game is set for Aug. 10 vs. the New York Giants.
Pittsburgh released CB Nigel Malone and DT Omar Hunter, while bringing in TE/FB John Rabe and CB Ryan Steed
The new passing attacks of the NFL will feature more up-tempo packages. Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is preparing his unit from the ground up; starting with conditioning.
The Steelers' first round pick tells BTSC he was ready to start hitting, and was pleased with his performance in Monday's Backs on 'Backers.
The Steelers signed undrafted free agent Alan Baxter out of Northern Illinois due to his explosion and quickness. It's gotta be the shoes, as he's excited about his footwear in Latrobe, and his coaches are noticing.
Steelers' backup David Paulson didn't have an impressive 2012 season and still needs to improve his skills as a blocking tight end for Pittsburgh.
However the position allotment gets broken down, these players are seen as already included on the team's final offensive roster.
In a conversation with Solomon Wilcots, Roethlisberger admits Mike Wallace and his speed are not easily replaceable; but his offense will be perfectly fine without him.
In which the author makes it to Latrobe for the first day in pads...
Head coach Mike Tomlin is never going to give the press the whole story when it comes to injuries, but his most recent description of his injured defensive backs left an impression of worse than just day-to-day.
Barely two months removed from an incident which left the team's 2012 second-round draft pick in the hospital with stab wounds and a lacerated colon, Adams arrived healthy, strong and ready for training camp.
Tossing around undrafted rookies is one thing, but if Fangupo can translate his ferocity toward established NFL veterans, he may just surpass last year's fourth-round draft pick Ta'amu.
The young man has a long way to go before locking down the starting spot currently up for grabs, but the team is giving him every opportunity to show them what he is bringing to the table.
A season after much criticism of LaMarr Woodley's lack of conditioning, Steelers linebacker coach Keith Butler likes where Woodley's body is at during camp this year.
Fresh off surgery to remove bone chips in his knee, Steelers rookie cornerback Terry Hawthorne took reps as the punt gunner Sunday. It's one of many roles a reserve defensive back can fill on a team, suggesting only the versatile survive.
A dull day in terms of news only builds anticipation for first contact of the season.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has made very little about "football in shorts," but Monday is a fully padded practice, giving him his first chance to evaluate Jarvis Jones, among others, in pads.
Injuries are part of the game, and being injured is part of the process, says Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The absence of Allen and Van Dyke gives some additional reps for a deep cornerback group.
A one-stop shop that will be continuously updated with news, features and tidbits surrounding the action at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa.
Steelers Baron Batch was basically a redshirt rookie in 2012. With another year of strengthening to the ACL he tore in 2011, he may be the darkest horse to make this roster, but he still could force the team to keep a sixth running back.
One issue or another has picked away at the large posterior of the Steelers' would-be left tackle. Marcus Gilbert brings up the concept of trust, which begs the question of how much the team can have with Gilbert.
Steelers rookie wide receiver Markus Wheaton is catching passes after practice, and working to get himself up to speed after getting little team practice in this offseason.
The Mike Tomlin-acclaimed Football in Shorts practice sessions are back, but it still is an opportunity for the Steelers to build off the continuity they didn't have at this time last year.
John Malecki and Mike Golic join Kelvin Beachum as players the team is giving reps at center to back up the injury-laden Maurkice Pouncey.
The Steelers hit a few deep passes in the second half of the weather-delayed practice. While it's early, it sends a message the Steelers are going to test deep coverage. And perhaps the deep coverage needs more work.
A severe thunderstorm moved through the area, setting off sirens and forcing the team and fans to shelter.
Roethlisberger says he specifically asked center Maurkice Pouncey and tight end Heath Miller to step up to more vocal leadership roles in 2013. They seem like perfect fits, considering their age, experience and ability.
The Steelers quarterback admitted to a bit of an issue over play terminology, but downplayed the idea he and offensive coordinator Todd Haley were 'butting heads.'
On day one of training camp, head coach Mike Tomlin announced his quarterback was suffering some discomfort in the knee which was operated on during OTAs. The quarterback denounced the rumor on day two.
Emmanuel Sanders provides insight into his mindset of the upcoming season, as well as the locker room dynamics of a team poised to continue the illustrious legacy of the franchise.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had surgery on his right knee this off-season, and lingering effects from that surgery are still affecting him, per multiple reports.
Tight end Heath Miller, fullback David Johnson, defensive tackle Alameda Ta'amu and linebacker Sean Spence were placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list after conditioning tests to kick off the Steelers' training camp.
Marcus Gilbert carted off field after conditioning test. That isn't good. #steelers— Josh Yohe (@JoshYohe_Trib) July 26, 2013
No injury and Gilbert did pass the conditioning test - he was just too tired to get his butt off the field afterwards and needed to be carted.
From Ray Fittipaldo: "Brett Keisel showed up in a
yellow black and gold dump truck, dumped his one piece of luggage on lawn in front of dorms."
Hello Twitter. Expect no BS from me. Just straight fire!— Mike Tomlin (@CoachTomlin) July 26, 2013
And yes, the account has been verified to be real by Steelers PR.
The Steelers begin its quest for an unprecedented seventh Super Bowl championship when players report to training camp Friday, July 26. Not coincidentally, Behind The Steel Curtain will release "The Renegade" July 26.
We'll email you a reset link.
If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.
You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.
You must be a member of Behind the Steel Curtain to participate.
We have our own Community Guidelines at Behind the Steel Curtain. You should read them.
Choose an available username to complete sign up.