The Steelers are done with OTAs, and the regular season is on the horizon. Here is part two of our recap on what we learned-- and didn't-- at OTAs.
What role will OLB James Harrison end up having in the regular season?
Rumor has it there will be a Harrison v. Porter UFC stare-down to determine who wins the Great Snap Count Battle of 2015. Yes, of course Bruce Buffer will be the announcer and Herb Dean the referee. They will also both have entourages and special songs, just like a real fight.
Porter has said that Harrison should expect a limited role during the season, while Harrison is pretty sure he can play football until he is 80. The real age he referenced was 50, in case you missed that news. And, as long as we're talking about awesome James Harrison news, Vince Williams has a Deebo poster he uses for motivation.
Somedays I wanna be like "F this diet!" But then I look at my Deebo poster and I can't do it.— Vince Williams (@VinnyVidiVici98) May 30, 2015
My guess is that Harrison will end up playing more. Not because of any showdown, but because his drive, intensity, fitness level, experience, and mental acumen will make him the best player for the job. According to coach Joey Porter, James Harrison is spending time translating his work in the weight room to the field, working on his "football condition, all the stuff that really matters," per Mark Kaboly at TribLive.com.
What's going on at QB?
Big Ben is feeling good about his offensive weapons, praising his teammates at various points during the past two weeks. About DeAngelo Williams, Roethlisberger told Steelers.com, "I've known D-Will for a while now. Just really happy we've got a guy who can be a weapon for us. Hopefully all year. He's a good veteran back, he's been doing it for a while."
The big question coming out of OTAs is the role that Landry Jones will have in the regular season. Will former Clemson star Tajh Boyd take the number three slot behind Bruce Gradkowski? Jones has not been able to perform consistently (or consistently well at least) at OTAs.
Michigan standout Devin Gardner also took some reps at QB during OTAs. A former quarterback who was picked up by the Steelers to play wide receiver, Gardner is prepared to render himself useful by doing whatever his team needs. He said via The Associated Press, "No matter where I play I feel I'm going to do well as long as I learn how to play it."
How cohesive is the team?
On a scale of Redskins to 10, the Steelers seem to be as close to a 10 as possible, with no stories or rumors of infighting, bickering, parents interfering with workouts or a 49ers-esque mass exodus from the team. The Black and Gold started OTAs right with perfect attendance, and continued to have strong attendance throughout the ten workouts. Players appeared upbeat and enthusiastic about learning the playbook and practicing fundamentals. Guard Ramon Foster told Mark Kaboly of the Tribune-Review, "It shows commitment. Coach Tomlin said the first thing about getting better is showing up. That's what guys are doing." Mentorship was a big theme of OTAs with veteran players stepping up to help out the rookies, and the rookies trusting team leaders for guidance and advice.
If you missed the first recap, click here: