The Pittsburgh Steelers put a bow on their first week of non-mandatory OTAs Thursday, and there were several news items to discuss following the third, and final, workout of the week. See what went down at the Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side this past week.
Pair of Pittsburgh QBs miss practice
So, the Steelers were short handed at the quarterback position Thursday, and rightfully so. Ben Roethlisberger, and his wife, welcomed their third child, a boy, into the world, and just a few hours later Landry Jones, and his wife, welcomed their first child. A pair of signal callers who's futures will always be linked if by nothing more than their kids' birthdays. Everyone is reported to be healthy and happy, while both plan on returning to practice next week.
The birth of the latest Roethlisberger pushed the quarterback's normal trip with his receivers to his Georgia lake house on hiatus until later in the summer.
Antonio Brown vs. Artie Burns
Most fans heard about the All-World wide receiver going against the team's top draft pick for the first time at practice, but if you didn't it went something like this:
Brown runs a go route and blows past Burns, but largely due to an underthrown pass, Burns is able to catch up and bat the ball away with a diving attempt.
It marked the first of many likely battles the two will have between now and their Week 1 regular season game against the Washington Redskins, but Burns isn't shying away from going against Brown, or his goals for his rookie season.
"I want to start," Burns told Jason Mackey of DKonPittsburghSports.com. "That's what I'm working toward. I want to be the best in my class. Try to be the best corner in my conference. I want to start off small, have goals, start off small. Then later on in my years I can get to the big goals. I always want to be the best."
"It's [the NFL game] not too fast for me," Burns said. "I'm getting adjusted to it. Now I'm learning technique. I'm getting the scheme down.
"I'm doing all the technique right. I just have to go out there and master my craft, get all my fundamentals right and head into the season and go out for a starting position."
Sounds like the rookie isn't content with just showing up and watching from the sideline, and that is a good thing. Maybe all the "experts" were wrong when they thought anyone but Burns would see the most playing time his rookie season.
Cockrell the veteran?
Believe it or not, but the Steelers' secondary is so 'green', Ross Cockrell has the second-most experience among cornerbacks on the team's roster. Cockrell realizes this too, as he told Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer-Reporter.
"I was just talking with my dad about that the other day," Cockrell said. "He reminded me of that. It's crazy."
It is crazy, but also true. William Gay and Cockrell are the veterans with Doran Grant, Senquez Golson and rookie Artie Burns make up the likely starting 5 cornerbacks for the team heading into 2016.
More players missed practice Thursday, other than Roethlisberger, as noted by Mark Kaboly, there were several players not present, but these workouts are not mandatory.
Couple more absences at Steelers OTA 3. By my count, 7, 26, 27, 38, 48, 50, 92. It is voluntary.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) May 26, 2016
Tweets, Pictures and Videos
More AB pic.twitter.com/H8S8fYGS0m— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly_Trib) May 26, 2016
good practice, good practice— Antonio Brown (@AntonioBrown84) May 26, 2016