By now, you’ve heard all about Le’Veon Bell being a no-show at minicamp, and Alejandro Villanueva being present at the workouts. However, there was a lot that went down at the Steelers UPMC Rooney Practice Facility for the first day of mandatory minicamp.
What stood out the most to me, coming from the reports out of minicamp, was how prized first round draft pick T.J. Watt was handling the increased workload of the NFL.
According to Vince Williams, he is doing just fine.
#Steelers LB Vince Williams says @_TJWatt "is the most ready rookie I've ever seen. Ever." Says mentally, Watt "is not lost ever."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 13, 2017
Vince Williams is a smart guy, and he never splices words. If he felt Watt wasn’t doing his job on the field, you would have heard a response something like, “He has some work to do, but he is working hard.” The most impressive part of Williams’ comments would be how Watt is never mentally lost on the football field.
You hear it time and time again, rookies get slowed down by the mental aspect of the game. The complexity of the NFL game is a far cry from NCAA, and it seems Watt is moving quickly through the transition. However, hold your praise until the team puts the pads on at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, PA and he starts adding the physical tools to the mental aspect of the game.
Mike Tomlin addresses Bell and Villanueva
The media hadn’t had a chance to talk with Mike Tomlin since the 2017 NFL Draft, and you miss just how straight forward the coach is with the media. If you listen closely, you can tell he is sending messages to his team via the media.
Just look at what he says about Le’Veon Bell missing minicamp, and Alejandro Villanueva showing up to work.
Mike Tomlin says he has no feelings on Le'Veon Bell's absence. I ask: Are you really indifferent? He says: "I really am." #Steelers— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 13, 2017
Mike Tomlin says a waste of his energy to think about anyone not at camp. As for LT Al Villanueva being here w/out contract: "I'm glad."— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 13, 2017
Have to love Tomlin and how he handles the situations which come up throughout the NFL calendar.
The end of an era
Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann has said the 2017 season will be his last, likely due to health reasons. Todd Haley had to fill in for Mann on occasion this offseason, and the 70-year-old coach will have one final year before he hangs it up for good.
Steelers receivers coach Richard Mann (Aliquippa) confirms that this will be his last season. The 70-yo has been in NFL last 33 years.— Chris Bradford (@BCTBradford) June 13, 2017
It shouldn’t be understated how Mann has turned so many receivers into household names, and don’t think the team won’t want to win for their coach.
Some are wondering who would take over next season, and it is hard to ignore the fact Hines Ward has hinted at getting into coaching. The Steelers like to keep their own, but there is a long way to go before that job search gets underway.
Alualu on the mend
Possibly the biggest free agent acquisition for the Steelers this offseason, and that isn’t saying much, is back to practice, albeit on a limited basis.
Tyson Alualu returned to work after a calf injury, and declares he will be more than ready for training camp. Anytime a player is able to return to the gridiron is a good thing, even for minicamp.
Tyson Alualu, on the mend from a calf injury, practiced for the first time today, he said. Only participated in individual drills. #Steelers— Chris Mueller (@bychrismueller) June 13, 2017
Here are #Steelers wide receivers going through individual drills today before the rain came: pic.twitter.com/gVbP4Yg6bn— Chris Mueller (@bychrismueller) June 13, 2017
What's a minicamp practice look like for @AB84? #Wired4Sound pic.twitter.com/15GRKW5RWN— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 14, 2017
Minicamp: Day 1 ✅ pic.twitter.com/NgNTquzejr— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) June 13, 2017