Steelers change course
The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up OTA’s (Organized Team Activities) on Thursday. There was a marked difference between this year’s OTA’s and the OTA’s of the past couple of years.
Missing were “I-I-I” and “Me-Me-Me”. They were replaced by “Us” and “We”. Steelers OTA’s not being marked by self-absorbance and contract disputes? What’s this sport coming to?
It’s a long season, and just about anything can happen. For right now, the players and the coaches are seemingly all on the same page.
Right defensive end Stephon Tuitt is putting the team’s non-playoff 2018 season behind him and concentrating on the upcoming 2019 season.
“That was last year. You have to let that go,” said Tuitt. “If you keep that going, you’ll be in the same spot. We’re going to try and make it a more successful season than we did last year. This is a new year, a new opportunity.”
Tuitt gave his insight into what the defensive unit needs to do to make the 2019 season successful.
“Everybody has to finish the practice,” said the former Notre Dame standout. “The defensive line needs to finish the play. The DB’s need to get the interception, getting more turnovers, getting more fumbles. If we can do a little more of that, we’ll be alright.”
Forcing turnovers, Tuitt noted, is being addressed during workouts.
“Every time you get the opportunity to attack the ball, you have to do that.”
Tuitt explained his personal offseason goals, saying, “I need to be a better finisher. If I can do that, I will be more dominant, be a better player. I need to be more consistent and finish. What I am working on is being quicker and faster. I want to feel more comfortable with myself.”
Former Steelers William Gay and David Johnson have been hired as coaching interns. During his playing days, Gay was widely regarded as a player who would go into coaching.
A former cornerback, Gay is working with the Steelers wide receivers, bringing them the thinking of a cornerback.
“He lets us into their mindset and what they are thinking on a particular play, or route,” said wide receiver James Washington. “It’s been enlightening. He has opened up a whole new train of thought.”
While OTA’s are important, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin put it succinctly, saying, “”It may be football, but it’s football in shorts.”
The Steelers 2019 schedule is formatted differently than in past years. Normally, they are home for a game or two, then on the road for one or two games. This year, they play three consecutive home games (Miami, Indianapolis and Los Angeles Rams). By the time they are finished playing the Rams, the Steelers will have played six of their eight home games by November 10. That means the Steelers will be on the road for five of their final seven games. Pittsburgh’s last home game is December 15, as they finish the regular season at the New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens.
Mini camp runs Tuesday through Thursday this week. The Steelers report to Latrobe on July 25, with the first practice scheduled for July 26.
The season-opener is still 13 weeks away. A lot of things are going to happen; some good, and some bad. That’s what makes it interesting.