On Friday, the Steelers concluded their spring mini-camps before returning to work next month in earnest to prepare for the 2008 season.
Here are some notes from the recent sessions:
*Mike Tomlin is extremely pleased with Big Ben:
*Cornerback Ike Taylor, who is coming off an extremely disappointing 2006 season, seems to be back on track. Taylor practiced all spring with the first unit on the left side, while McFadden and Deshea rotated on the right side. Taylor's subpar year has to be up there as one of the primary culprits for our demise last year. Teams were throwing at will against him (think Jevon Walker and the Denver game for starters), and it put an awful lot of pressure on our defense (and offense) because of it. If Taylor can get back on track and be the shut-down corner he's capable of being, our entire football team will benefit. His play this coming year is near the top of my 'What to Watch For' list.
*Tomlin keeps reiterating that no job is secure, even if certain players had been mainstays during the Cowher era. Yes, some of this is just lip-service: we know Willie Parker, Troy, Big Ben, Hines and others will be starters. But, still, Tomlin is trying to make a point that the past is the past and that it's time to get to work:
*Finally, Tomlin mentioned that there will be more two-a-days than in years past. We're not defending Super Bowl Champions anymore, and I couldn't be happier that Tomlin will be pushing this team outside its comfort zone before the season starts. I felt like we were unprepared for adversity last year, and it may have had something to do with the excessively relaxed atmosphere of the team after our Super Bowl win.