The practices might look the same as they have over the last three weeks when they took the field during OTAS, with players still in shorts and not permitted to wear pads. But for the next three days there will be a different feeling in the air as Steelers minicamp is underway.
“It puts you in the atmosphere of training camp,” said cornerback
During OTAs there was one practice a day, players were off the field by noon and out the door not long after. But minicamp is more like training camp and the regular season, where a full days schedule is commonplace.
“With the new CBA rules it’s real easy these days. I know when I came in as a rookie two-a-days were two-a-days. We were hitting. The minicamp is more mental focus. You are here from about 6 am until 6 pm. You get your workout in, practice, lunch, practice, meetings. The physicality part isn’t a lot, the conditioning is, but just sitting through the meetings, getting ready for the second practice, all of that is mental.”
For the Steelers rookies, minicamp will give them a glimpse at what things are going to be like when they report to training camp in Latrobe in July, as well as what the regular season will bring.
“They have to realize this is the last time we will go on the field without pads,” said Gay. “This is the closest thing we will give them to the tempo of training camp.”
The schedule for minicamp is similar to what the rookies went through their first weekend with the team, but definitely kicks up a notch with the entire team on hand.
“It gives guys a feel for a real work day and see how guys go about their business,” said receiver
“You want to fine tune your game then and put and emphasis on the little things you need to improve on from OTAs and start putting things on tape.”
Defensive end Cam Heyward, who didn’t experience minicamp his rookie season because of the NFL lockout, still knows the importance of the next three days for young players.
“These rookies are still learning but the more opportunities you get the better you are going to get,” said Heyward. “It’s another gear up because you are getting closer to the season. A lot of guys are going to have a lot of time here and we have to take advantage of it.”