The kick is good: The Steelers wrapped up their three-day minicamp a little early on Thursday, just before the rain hit at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, thanks to a long field goal by kicker Chris Boswell. But it didn't end before Coach Mike Tomlin saw what he wanted from his team.
"It was a good minicamp," said Tomlin. "We were able to finish up a little bit early. We just happened to beat the rain. I am sure the guys will accuse me of somehow having that orchestrated, but Chris Boswell got them out of it with a nice kick from a decent distance.
"It's been a great camp. It's been a great offseason. By that I mean the guys worked hard. They came in, in relatively good shape, and it's improving. I watched it improve in front of my eyes. The next five weeks prior to Latrobe are going to be big. That's one of the things we stress, in terms of leaving them with. What they do from here on is probably going to define them from a conditioning standpoint in 2016. That's the one thing they can control. They have no control over what we ask them to do, but they do have great control over their overall readiness. So we challenge them in that area. I look forward to watching him work to that. Next move for us is Latrobe."
It's all the same:** Minicamp fell after the team went through three weeks of OTAs, and basically was an extension of what the team did during those OTA sessions.
"It's not really different," said Tomlin. "It's an opportunity to work and to get better. I think that's the approach that we all take to it. It's a different name. It's described in different ways. In some instances, based on the CBA, the format is altered or the time in which we work. But the bottom line is that the guys come in the building every day with a genuine interest in getting better. From that standpoint it's the same."
Communication grows: If you were waiting to hear the popping of pads or see contact, minicamp was not what that was about. It wasn't a time to go through the physical rigors that will come during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Instead it's about cohesion, working on their skill set, and communication.
"What I am looking for is skill development relative to their positon," said Tomlin. "That's what the long individual periods are about with their coaches. I saw improvement in that area in just about all positions as I walked around over the course of the offseason. That is exciting. I like the communication. That indicates understanding. I thought largely the communication was on the upswing over the course of the offseason. You could hear it, just as the ball was snapped, the way the guys communicate formally and informally, sharing information. To me, that shows understanding."