While a lot of talk this offseason was focused on who left the Steelers, Vince Williams chose to focus on something completely different. He was all about who the Steelers brought in this year and the impact the newcomers had on the team during the offseason program that concluded on Thursday.
“I just feel like we brought a lot of good guys in,” said Williams. “The people we added…everyone is focusing on the people we lost but I think the people we added are going to be very helpful to us. I think instead of focusing on what we lost, I get a lot of encouragement about the people we brought in.
“Devin (Bush) is phenomenal. I feel like he is going to make plays right away. I think (Donte) Moncrief is good. I don’t think people realize how good he is. The wide out, (Diontae) Spencer, he was killing it in Canada (in the CFL) and he was out here making splash plays. Mark (Barron) is a seasoned vet, he is good. I feel like we got a lot of great people who came in and are ready to go.”
Finishing strong: The Steelers got through the offseason without (knock on wood) any injuries. They also got through it learning a lot about young players, not necessarily just their football skillset, but their overall mindset.
“I learn a lot about them,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “Not necessarily in an evaluation type way, but how they learn, their level of conditioning, their skill set relative to their position, things like that. But it is more about learning and learning styles and learning capabilities and things of that nature more so than the evaluation like things.”
The younger players took center stage on the final day of minicamp, similar to the way the OTA sessions were run where one day was focused on younger players getting more work.
“We talked very openly at the beginning of this thing that we weren’t going to distribute reps evenly, we were going to distribute them appropriately,” said Tomlin. “We just felt like the young guys needed additional reps to gain experience, to display know how, to gain and display conditioning. All the things that will put them on even footing and allow all 90 men to compete in Latrobe. So really, that has been our focus.”
Overall Tomlin was pleased with the offseason program with what the team accomplished, giving them a good base heading into training camp next month.
“I like the way we finished with our work here, continuing to add elements to situational football to educate our guys,” said Tomlin. “We did some mayday field goal-like work at the end of the two-minute drill. We have been working the two-minute drill, we just added to that today as an example of just increasing the complexities of the play and making it more football-like.
“I like the energy. I left them with the message that they need to show up ready. We have outlined that more in detail about what specifically what that means for each guy. Rest assured that conditioning and readiness has to be the most significant element of their time here in the upcoming weeks.”
He said it:
Joe Haden on the growth he saw from the team this offseason:
“I like the work that we put in. Everyone is focused on being better, working with each other. Communication is much better. It’s the grind and how everybody is focused and trying to get better and making it healthy to training camp.”
Stephon Tuitt on what young players need to do leading into training camp:
“Make sure they focus on their bodies, so they come to training camp in the best shape as possible. Having experienced a few of them myself, you want to come back ready to compete and show the coaches you’re capable of having a role on the team.”
James Washington on where he has improved and what he needs to do until camp:
“I have more confidence with the playbook. I guess being a little more vocal, talking to guys, being more involved. I just need to stay in condition, know the playbook. Just maintain the receiver mechanics.”
Bud Dupree on what the players need to do until camp:
“We have a month off. We have to make sure we go out and do the same things we have done here and bring it back to training camp. We have experience. We have been around each other for a while. People are coming into their own. They want to win and get to the big game.”