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Steelers 2018 Minicamp Recap Day 2: OLB rotation more calculated than once thought

The Steelers decided to move their OLBs around, and it might be more complex than originally thought.

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NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

During the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Organized Team Activities (OTAs), news was made when it was announced the team was moving both T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree around along the defensive line.

They were letting Dupree, who usually rushes from the defense’s left side, play on the right, and shifting Watt from the right to the left.

When this was reported, most just assumed it was the team giving themselves the flexibility to move the two bookend pass rushers around in specific sub packages. The same narrative of flexibility was written when Dupree announced the team had even practiced having both Watt and Dupree rushing from the same side of the defensive front.

However, after Day 2 of the Steelers’ mandatory minicamp, comments by outside linebacker coach Joey Porter cast the team’s decisions as much more calculated than originally thought.

See what was said, per Mark Kaboly of the Athletic:

While the team is still aiming to give themselves as many options as possible whenever the defense lines up, they clearly think Dupree can, and will, be able to succeed from the right side of the defense.

In regard to Porter’s comments about Watt’s coverage skills, I would chalk this up to a coach keeping his young defender in check. If Porter were to say how Watt has acclimated himself well, and although improvement is necessary, is far better than they expected, you can’t help but wonder if those words might impact Watt’s preparation.

Watt has work to do on all aspects of his game, but his play in space last year was a work-in-progress. Considering Watt’s well-known work ethic, I would certainly imagine 2018 will show improved skills in all facets of his game.

Now it's time to check on other news coming out of the Steelers’ second day of minicamp:

Youth Served at QB Thursday

Thursday will be a day to keep an eye on for a lot of reasons for the Steelers. Not only is it the team’s final day of minicamp, and last workout before training camp, the team will be getting a long look at both Joshua Dobbs and Mason Rudolph exclusively during team drills.

Let the competition begin...

Eli back in the building

After suffering a torn ACL in the season-ending loss to the Jaguars last season, Eli Rogers was at the team’s UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and spoke to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

While Rogers did not receive a Restricted Free Agent (RFA) tender from the Steelers, he is hopeful to be re-signed when he shows he's healthy enough to play. If healthy, Rogers would be a welcome addition to the team’s wide receiver depth chart.

Tackling...yes please!

The Steelers tackling has been...well...not very good the past few years. No game sticks out more than the playoff loss to Jacksonville at Heinz Field last year. Missed tackles, poor angles and horrible run fits were the ongoing theme of 2017, and not just in the playoffs.

Keith Butler spoke to media and told reporters he is planning on practicing tackling more in training camp than they have in years past.

What is ironic about Butler saying this is how reporters like Peter King always talk about how much tackling the Steelers do at camp compared to other teams — yet their tackling still isn’t very good.

Either this will help, or perhaps resemble banging your head against the wall over and over again.

Not all drama for AB

Antonio Brown made waves Tuesday when he talked about why he had missed eight of the team’s 10 OTAs. He blamed the media and talked about his overall lack of freedom. When fans and media heard these words, there wasn’t a lot of sympathy headed Brown’s way, but it should be noted not everything Brown does is about him.

Brown, who's a partner with Campbell’s Chunky Soup, helped box up meals at the Pittsburgh Food Bank and he'll help provide food for those in need this year.

Below is what Brown posted of the event on his official Twitter page:


JuJu Smith-Schuster speaks!


Coach Tomlin Recaps Day 2