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Minicamp Blog: Liking what they saw

Thursday, June 15

Liking what they saw: For the last four weeks Steelers players have taken the field at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, three weeks for OTAs and one week for minicamp.

It was a time of growth for the team with so many new faces on both sides of the ball, and for several players on the defensive side, they liked what they saw.

"I know 100% we can be the best defense in the NFL, especially if we all stay healthy," said linebacker Alex Highsmith. "I am excited about the guys that we have. We have depth at almost every position. It's been good seeing guys come together and get better and better every day. The sky is the limit for us. I am excited to see how we continue to grow."

Highsmith's confidence is based on what he sees around him in the locker room, which is a mix of returning talent blended with an infusion of talented new blood.

"We have so many good players," said Highsmith. "We have so many guys who are dedicated to this game. Last year we started playing our best ball at the end of the year. If we can build on that, we can be the best. That is what I believe because we have a lot of guys who have bought in and are talented as well."

Fellow linebacker T.J. Watt knew growth was vital during the offseason program, keeping a strong view on what they set out to accomplish over the past month.

"We progressed every single day," said Watt. "That is why we have all been here throughout. That is what we tried to accomplish. We weren't here trying to win games right now. We were just trying to gel as a defense. We've done a lot of that. More than anything it's camaraderie, guys hanging out together on and off the field. We had a team building event. Those things are important as a defense. We are making plays. Guys are figuring out how to play Pittsburgh Steelers defense. And it went well."

One of the reasons it went so well was the attendance for the voluntary portion, which had the locker room packed to the rafters on a daily basis.

"It was great, all together building chemistry," said Highsmith. "Whenever guys are here, we can build that chemistry together, work on our communication. A lot of guys being here has helped us to communicate well and be able to play fast."

Communication is something that will come into play strongly during training camp and getting the jump on it now was priceless for the defense.

"That's why it's so crucial to have as many people here as possible," said Watt. "To be able to get as many of those timing things down, especially as a defense in the pass rush game. You have multipole elements in the game, and you all have to be on the same page for it. If you can get those things out of the way now so you don't have to worry about it in training camp, it's a win."

A different energy: If you go up and down the list of free agents the Steelers signed this offseason, you would be hard pressed to find one that didn't say one of the main reasons he signed with the Steelers was the opportunity to play for Coach Mike Tomlin.

And now, with OTAs and minicamp in the books, they are stressing even more how much they love being a part of Tomlin's team.

"It's cool, it really is," said cornerback Patrick Peterson. "Coach, he has a different energy, a different attitude about him. He is the same every day and you can't help but respect that.

"Coach does a great thing but starting the morning saying, 'great morning.' That is something I always said before I got here. Guys asked me how I am, and I always said I am doing great, I am not doing good. To have that mindset and instill it in all of the guy…some guys don't have that gift to push grown men's buttons and get them motivated. And not necessarily saying we all need motivation. And his motivational speeches are not really just motivation. He is giving real life facts and turning it into a football sense. That is what you have to love about Coach. He has a unique way of connecting with his players and I am happy to be on his team."

The 'great' comment is something that was also heard on the field time and time again during the team's offseason program, with Tomlin always encouraging the players to do things like protect the ball so they will have a great day. 

"It goes a long way," said Peterson. "In this business, you can't be ordinary. You have to be supernatural at something. If you are going to be good, you are not going to last. Great players are the people who people remember. If you want to be great, if you want to be remembered, you have to have great days, not good days."

The players understand the importance of being great, because even if they have only been in the black and gold for a few months, they already understand the messages Tomlin preaches to them.

"At the end of the day, the standard is the standard," said linebacker Elandon Roberts. "With Coach Tomlin, he instills to the players, to the whole group to be comfortable, but at the same time don't be comfortable. There is a difference between having fun, being lax, and not getting your job done…and then getting your job done so that now I can have fun. When you win, and you watch on film your mistakes, it's comfortable because you accomplished your goal. But you don't want to feel like that. Even if you win, you always want to feel like I have to get this, I have to fix this because it could cost us a game. That is what he is trying to instill in us…the bigger picture. I like the approach of embracing the players, letting the players be the players, but knowing the goal and bigger picture."

What else Roberts likes is he knows exactly where Tomlin is coming from. He doesn't play games but puts everything out there in front of the players.
"When you don't have to guess, when you know what a person is thinking, that is comfortable to me," said Roberts. "I know what you want out of me. There is no gray with Coach and I love that. You can be comfortable because there is no gray. I know what is expected of me. I am out here trying to guess. He tells you and I respect that. I love that."

He isn't alone. Linebacker Markus Golden signed with the team during OTAs, saying that he was a Steelers fan growing up and always admired Tomlin. Now that he is learning from him, that has grown even more. 

"Just knowing what is expected of you, you aren't coming in all confused, he will tell you exactly how it is," said Golden. "You don't leave a conversation with him not knowing what he wants and expects. I like that a lot. It helps out a lot.

"It's been good. I am not the type of person to come in and hope for something. I go off of what I see. What I see is a big-time NFL head coach. Everything I heard about him is true. He loves the game. He loves his players. And he comes to work every day ready to work and that is what I love."

Loving the vibe: There is a feeling in the Steelers locker room right now, and it's something players are noticing.

It's a tightness, a closeness, a bond where players are together, they are one, they are bonding.

It's a vibe, a vibe receiver George Pickens is loving.

"It's super early, but just the vibe of the people," said Pickens. "I said that before we even started practicing, just the vibe of the people. It's super, super cool. Super, super ready to go. And super, super energized. Guys last year, we had energy, but this year is a lot of on field energy and communication too.

"I am just enjoying the energy. I like to watch guys go crazy. I like to watch guys make plays, so it's real fun for me."

And in turn, everyone loves watching Pickens make plays. He was a human highlight reel in 2022 when the rookie exploded onto the scene.

But the funny thing was, Pickens was never overly impressed with the catches he made. Not even ranking one of the best of the entire 2022 NFL season in his top five.

The catch was a sick one-handed grab out of the air while basically horizontal with the field against the Browns in Week 3 on Thursday Night Football. And yes, the internet reacted, including Odell Beckham Jr., who many quickly compared Pickens catch with an incredible one-handed touchdown catch by OBJ in 2014 with the New York Giants.

Pickens finished the 2022 season with 52 receptions for 801 yards, a 15.4-yard average, and four touchdowns. His yards per catch led the team, while his yards were ranked second and catches ranked third.

He wants more than that, and he knows there is more he is capable of. Receivers coach Frisman Jackson said Pickens has the potential to take a slant 60 yards. That is something Pickens would love.

"That is one of the things I am trying to work on, get the yards after catch," said Pickens. "It's the beginning of the route angle. If you mess up the defensive back super bad it's going to give you more advantage for yards after catch. If you have him on you, you can break a tackle, but it's a little harder. Your best advantage to really get that going is have a great release point."

Let go: Following the conclusion on minicamp the Steelers released safety Scott Nelson.

Take their advice: Steelers players have a little over a month until they report to Saint Vincent College for training camp, and one of the most important things for young players is to report to camp prepared, both physically and mentally.

"Get in the best shape of your life," said linebacker Alex Highsmith. "I was the 'Covid class,' so I didn't really have OTAs or anything. I wish I would have had OTAs and rookie minicamp to learn stuff, but I used my time at home learning the playbook and getting in shape. You have to show up in the best shape of your lives. Eliminate any distractions and lock in."

Locking in is a major key, especially when it comes to the mental aspect of it. Coming into camp with a good understanding of the playbook is paramount.

"Get as much sleep as you possibly can and hydrate so you can be your best self," said linebacker T.J. Watt. "Also, learn as much of the playbook as you possibly can. Be a sponge. Soak up as much information as possible. I am going into my seventh year, and I am still trying to learn. Just have fun. At the end of the day, we are all living our dreams, so it's about having fun and doing our best."

Starting over: As a rookie third-round draft pick out of Illinois in 2021, Kendrick Green started 15 games at center before an ankle injury ended his season.

The former standout guard then wasn't active for a single game in 2022 after losing a training camp battle with Kevin Dotson to start at left guard.

But Green, who had played center in college for just a handful of games at Illinois, is back at center for the Steelers this year. And he's looking forward to playing that position, something he couldn't always say in the past.

"It's better this go around because my first year, I didn't have anybody to lean on," Green said Thursday as the Steelers wrapped up their offseason program with their third minicamp practice. "It was my first time doing it. I was kind of thrown out there. Now, Mason (Cole) has played a lot. For me, we can talk about how to approach certain blocks and things like that. He's done it before. I have, too, but not as well as he has. I'm just trying to see how he does it. Mason has been a big advantage. He's helped a lot."

Cole was signed last offseason to be the Steelers' starting center and didn't miss a start last season, though he did miss a handful of snaps. J.C. Hassenauer was the Steelers' backup center last season with Green getting the majority of his camp work at guard. But Hassenauer signed with the Giants in the offseason, leaving an opening for the Steelers for a center behind Cole. Guards James Daniels and Isaac Seumalo and backup Nick Herbig all have played center at some point, but Green has been handling a lot of the snaps behind Cole throughout the offseason.

The Steelers do have options at center, but they want to give the former third-round pick a chance to show he can play the position.

"We have a bunch of guys right now. KG is in there. KG is picking up center right now," said offensive line coach Pat Meyer. "James can play center. Nate's in there working reps. We have a bunch of guys that are able to do that, which is fortunate, because sometimes you're like, 'Who's the third?' We have four or five guys that we have combinations with that can play that position. We're fortunate that we have guys that have played that spot before that can handle it mentally, too."

Meyer wasn't with the Steelers in Green's rookie season. So, what he's asking his unit to do is different from what Green was tasked with doing in 2021. But he's seen Green attack the position with more aplomb than he did before, when Green stated he didn't love playing center as a rookie.

"I see the improvement," Meyer said. "Year 1, he was a rookie thrown right in there. He had to learn it and lead it. For a rookie coming in that didn't feel comfortable, you could watch the film and say he did a lot of good things, too, for him to learn from.

"Last year, we had him in there and he was competing for a starting guard position and he ended up not winning that job. But I can see the improvement daily on Kendrick. We've got good people here that want to compete and want to win. He's always asking questions, 'How do we do this?' I see him talking to Mason all the time. 'How would you approach this block? Why?' Stuff like that for a young guy like Kendrick is invaluable to have a guy like Mason helping him grow."

That's the difference this time around for Green.

"Playing o-line, you only get noticed for the bad. There was more good, numbers wise, I had more good plays than bad plays," Green said. "If you're doing your job, nobody is going to notice. It's just something where I want to build off what I do and what I did well and fix the things I didn't. It's all it is.

"It's completely new. Even how we scheme stuff up, it's different than how we did it when Ben (Roethlisberger) was here. Everything is like new. I guess you could say it's a clean slate."

– Blog entry by Dale Lolley

Job description TBD: Wide receiver Calvin Austin III appreciated running back Najee Harris' "unicorn" reference this week as evidence of a successful spring.

Austin, in Harris' estimation, is a player "you can put really anywhere, put him in the backfield, at slot, everywhere.

"I think he's gonna be featured a lot," Harris added. "He's gonna put a lot of pressure on defenses."
Austin missed all of his rookie season last season due to injury but has seemingly been making up for lost time during OTAs and Mandatory Veteran Minicamp.

"I just go out there and work my hardest and just use my talents and my best ability," Austin said. "I think from that the coaches and, obviously, my teammates have kinda taken note and taken that as, 'Ok,
I can do different things.' Whatever that role is, wherever they see me needed I'm gonna be able to answer that call.

"I'm glad (Harris) said that. That's definitely a big compliment coming from him. I know I said this from the beginning (of OTAs), I felt extremely comfortable to do other things I may not have been asked to do last year because I was just trying to learn the playbook, learn where to line up.

"I definitely think I can do a lot of different things. I'm glad I've been able to be healthy and be able to show some of the different things I can do out there."

Wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson said the coaching staff is still pondering the possibilities regarding how Austin might be deployed.

"We're still massaging his role," Jackson said. "We're putting him in different places, just finding out what he's good at, just trying to find a natural role for him and using his strengths and his talents to exploit the defense.

"We're still massaging that out. Thank God we have training camp coming up and we're not playing tomorrow because we can still find out what his role is and find out ways to exploit that from a defensive perspective."

-- Blog entry by Mike Prisuta

Wednesday, June 14

Taking the lead: For quarterback Kenny Pickett, being a leader is something that has just come naturally.

Even last season, when he was a rookie, his teammates praised his leadership ability.

This year, he has taken it to another level, just by being himself.

"I just feel like it's a natural transition," said Pickett. "I don't try to force anything. I just want to step up when I feel like I need to step up. We have a lot of great veteran guys on the o-line and a lot of young guys on the offense that are all pushing in the same direction. It's a group effort. I'll step up whenever I feel the need to."

Pickett knows being a starting quarterback means you have to take on that responsibility and he certainly doesn't shy away from it.

"It comes with the job," said Pickett. "You have a feeling when you need to step up and say something, you do it. Everyone gets the message. It's a win."

Pickett's leadership isn't just visible on the field, but off the field as well. He puts in endless hours studying film, meeting with coaches and doing everything he can to improve his game, something that doesn't go unnoticed by others.

Pickett has office space adjacent from the coach's offices where he watches video, along with several other players, including safety Minkah Fitzpatrick.

"It's great. I had a little spot last year and now Mink's in there with me," said Pickett. "A lot of the time I am sitting in there with him asking questions, he is the best in the league at his position. To be able to sit there with him and kind of pick his brain on what he sees and how he acts in the secondary helps me in practice trying to play faster in practice."

The hope is it all pays dividends for Pickett and the offense, especially in games where they have to step up and go head-to-head with teams in a shootout.

"We have that ability," said Pickett. "We have the guys on the outside. We have the guys in the backfield and upfront. We have everything in place. We will be able to go shot for shot with those guys. Those teams that are playing deep into February, they have that and that's what we need to get to."

Fitting right in: For Steelers offensive linemen, OTAs and minicamp just aren't the same as training camp.

The guys in the trenches like to do one thing.

They like to hit.

But right now, none of that is happening.

What is happening though, is chemistry is being built. And in June, that is just as important as going head-to-head with the defensive line.

With an infusion of new blood on the line this offseason, building chemistry, getting to know each other, is one of the most important factors.

"Right now we are practicing and there are no pads," said guard James Daniels. "For offensive and defensive line play, having pads is a big component of it. It's nice that we are getting work on the field, but the informal stuff, going out to dinner, lifting together, it's helping us a lot.

"If one person is wrong, we are all wrong. It's been great so far."

Among the new additions to the line are first round pick Broderick Jones and seventh round selection Spencer Anderson, as well as free agents Le'Raven Clark, Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo.

"Everyone who is new to the room came in and really listened to what (offensive line coach) Pat (Meyers) has been teaching them," said Daniels. "They also have been bringing things they have done in the past. It's been good so far."

One of those newcomers who not only has fit right in but has felt welcomed is Herbig. 

"Man, right when I got here, they took me in with open arms," said Herbig. "I already knew Isaac, played a bunch of years with him at the Eagles. It's just been a good chemistry since I got here.

"The other day we all went to brunch. We are always doing stuff, building chemistry in and out of the building which I appreciate."

Herbig said in addition to the chemistry with each other, they are building it with the offense as a whole, something that is invaluable.

"I feel like playing the offensive line we are able to work on things like route timing with the quarterback and receiver, knowing where the receiver is going to be. You have to know what guys are going to do next to you, their way of communicating. I feel like the better you know them, the smoother it goes."

For Seumalo, getting closer with his fellow offensive linemen is why he and all of them have been in Pittsburgh since Phase One of the offseason program, growing together so when training camp hits there won't be issues.

"I think offensive line is such a unique career choice," said Seumalo. "It takes all five of us working together to be dominant and consistency is a huge part of that. I am thankful for Pat and Coach Isaac (Williams). They've been welcoming. It's not them telling us what to do, it's a group effort, a collaboration. It's been good."

Last year the Steelers had the luxury of starting all five offensive lineman for 17 games. Everyone knows that is not the norm, but consistency is a key to having a solid offensive line.

"Consistency, confidence, talent," said Seumalo. "But where do you go from there…because everybody is talented. Being able to lock in one play at a time and then move on to the next. Trusting your teammates next to you. There are a lot of things.

"That is why the offensive line has been here since Phase One. Nobody has missed. It takes work. It's a grind, ups and downs. That consistency, critique of oneself and trying to improve every day. It's not going to be huge jumps but looking for that one percent every day."

The Steelers participate in Day 2 of the 2023 minicamp at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex

Communication a key: In football, the importance of it can't be stressed enough. It's a sport where lack of communication can lead to disaster, on both sides of the ball.

For the Steelers secondary, communication is paramount and it's something they have been working on during OTAs and continue to work on this week in minicamp.

But it won't be the end of the road. The work will continue in training camp at Saint Vincent College.

"You continue to build on it," said cornerback Levi Wallace. "It's not going to be perfect just a month into practice. It goes back to getting to know guys. You have to build that trust in a person and then you trust knowing they are going to be in the position they say. It's easy to communicate when you have that trust built into it. It's just spending time with another guy, getting to know him. We all come from different backgrounds but have all been playing football for a long time."

Since OTAs began, working on the on-field communication was a daily call to action. But it didn't stop there. That continued off the field, in the locker room, in the meeting rooms and outside of the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

"I think that is the most important part of having a team," said Wallace. "We have had great attendance with everybody here almost every day. We are only here for part of the day, but it's what you do after that with guys who have never been in Pittsburgh before. Going out after practice, building camaraderie, things like that. That stuff is valuable and pays off come December and January when games are real important."

Bringing the rookies into the fold has also been a key. The Steelers have two talented rookies in second-round pick Joey Porter Jr. and seventh-round pick Cory Trice Jr. at the cornerback spot and helping them with their adjustment, communication and overall learning has been a major focus for the veterans.

"It's bringing the young guys on whose eyes are still wide," said Wallace. "They are going to have to make an impact at some point in the season. Whether that's early or late, we expect guys to contribute. We all have to build together, especially in the back end with the defensive backs. There are five or six of us on the field at the same time. During the season things happen, and the expectation here is that things don't fall off. This time right here is really important and a key for us.

"They are walking into a whole new system, a different speed. Football changes a little bit for those guys. It's still an adjustment period and that is why we have training camp. It won't be built here in these last three days of minicamp and what we already did. We still have training camp. We still have July and guys work on things they need to. We still have time to build on that."

Hoping to find a home: Receiver Hakeem Butler has been settling in during OTAs and now minicamp after he was signed in mid-May and loves the atmosphere inside the Steelers locker room.

"It feels like everybody here wants to win, has that will and that want-to," said Butler. "Whether it's extra work or the fact that everybody is here and working hard. Coach (Mike) Tomlin leads that train with his demeanor making everything competitive. Everyone wants to win."

Butler played for the XFL's St. Louis BattleHawks this past season, finishing the year with 51 catches for 599 yards and eight touchdowns.

Butler was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He didn't play his rookie season after suffering a broken hand and was released prior to the start of the 2020 season. Butler played in two games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020, making a temporary switch to the tight end position. Since then, he played in the Canadian Football League, before playing in the XFL this season.

He is hoping he has found a home with the Steelers, especially with the way Tomlin runs things.

"I haven't seen many coaches like him," said Butler. "It's just the way that he is. I love it. He makes everything ultra-competitive. I love the environment."

Tuesday, June 13

High energy: The energy that was ever present during the Steelers OTAs the past three weeks carried over to the team's first minicamp practice on Tuesday at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

To say it was spirited, especially near the end, would be an understatement. There was plenty of chatter between the offense and defense, even if it was 'football in shorts' as Coach Mike Tomlin often refers to it.

"It's been pretty spirited the whole time," said quarterback Kenny Pickett. "It's been a good environment to work and compete against a really good defense. Our guys on offense have shown up and competed as well. It's back and forth all day, high level of play.

"It was good. OTAs and minicamp have been going really well. Guys showed up, working hard, taking steps in the right direction, so it's been good."

A year ago, Pickett was attacking minicamp as a rookie still learning the ropes and getting his footing. Now, he is helping out the rookies who were in the same place he was last year.

"Whatever chance I get. I was there last year," said Pickett. "I know what it's like. I've been one time around the track as Coach T would say. I can help those guys with whatever they need.

"I think those guys are doing a really good job of getting up to speed and playing at a high level out there."

A get back year: The Steelers kicked off their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday, the final week of work before the team gets a break leading into training camp.

Receiver Diontae Johnson is on hand after spending time during voluntary OTAs doing work on his own, focusing on areas of his game that he wants to take to the next level.

"It's good being back, seeing all of the guys," said Johnson. "I am looking forward to getting it going. Put it on film. Show what I have been working on and chase that championship."

Johnson said being on hand is important because it helps build the bond that will carry over into the season.

"Just getting a feel for everybody," said Johnson, who was in town for the start of OTAs. "Learning how people play, their moves. Getting to know each other. Team bonding. See what the coaches have planned for us and put it on film."

A key area of focus for Johnson this offseason is his yards after catch. Johnson is coming off a season where he had 86 receptions for 882 yards, with only 236 of those being yards after catch.

"I am working on everything really," said Johnson. "Pretty much my main focus has been yards after catch. I want to show I can really run with the ball in my hands and show that breakaway speed. I have been doing a lot of running. That is the main focus. Hitting on a little here and there. I am ready.

"(Last year) was an odd year for me. Everybody goes through their ups and downs. This is the get back year for me. I am going to put it all on film and let everybody know what they have been missing."

One thing that led to that 'odd year' comment for Johnson was not scoring a touchdown in 2022. He came close, but no cigar. This year, he wants to change that.

"I just missed that feeling," Johnson told me with a wry smile and a look in his eyes that he truly did miss it. "That feeling with the crowd. I just want to get that feeling again. It's a different feeling when you score a touchdown and get those six points. It's all the plays that lead into the touchdown. It will feel even more special to me because of all the work you do to get in the end zone.

"I almost had one. Maybe it wasn't meant to be. It's a new year and I am ready."

Seeing the change: One of the main things everyone wanted to see out of OTAs was improvement, and with minicamp now underway, it's showing on the field.

"I have seen so much improvement from communication overall," said linebacker Alex Highsmith. "Seeing guys improve is always awesome. Being here with the guys, the past couple weeks, you see it.

"I feel like it's been a good OTAs so far. We are continuing to get better. This minicamp week we are continuing to build on what we have done, which is being here, working together to build communication and get in shape. It's finishing off strong."

Highsmith, who said he is 'confident we are going to get something worked out' as far as a contract extension 'because I want to be here for a long time,' loves the group of outside linebackers the team has, including new additions in veteran Markus Golden and rookie Nick Herbig.

"I think we have a great group," said Highsmith. "Bringing in a guy like Markus, who has been in the league for a while, established, it's awesome adding him. He is going to add a lot of value to our room. We drafted Nick, and he is getting better and better every day."

Then and now: The Steelers were a much different offense and a much different team throughout the second half of last season.

Running back Najee Harris attributed the resurgence on offense to an eventual revelation, individually and collectively.

"I feel like we found our identity," Harris said. "Early on we didn't know what we were. There was a lot of stuff going on, especially the quarterback position, just bringing new guys in. Really, we didn't have our identity. We were trying to look for it. And I think later on after that bye week we kind of figured out what we do best, and that's playing Steelers football, that's what we do. We run the ball. We have a good defense. We got good players outside so we try to get them the ball in space, we try to get deep balls downfield. But we have to control the line, we have to, control that rushing attack so we can out more pressure on the defensive coordinator to figure out what to do.

"If they want to stack the box, they we have people on the outside. If they want to play a six-man box then we can run the ball. I think we just got into an area where we found out who we are."

One of the challenges at the outset of this season will be to carry over the momentum generated after the bye week last season.

"It starts in practice," Harris continued. "It starts in the locker room. It starts in film. We gotta keep pressing. We gotta keep doing the small things, the little things, going to our meetings. We have to keep knowing that from where we were last year, after that bye week, us just really getting into the details, us really keying in on what we need to focus on, us working on the small things, like, for me my alignments and everything like that. All the little small details that play a big role, I think all that stuff plays over to the game. In the game it should be easy, it should be just execution, and that's where I think we got better last year.

"Just going into (training) camp, I feel like all of us, we know exactly what we are. We know exactly what we need to work on. We're doing a lot with the guys we have here, especially the new guys.
"We got (wide receiver) Calvin (Austin III) back, I think I'm excited about that. Calvin's kind of a unicorn, you can out him really anywhere, put him in the backfield, at slot, everywhere. I think he's gonna be featured a lot. He's gonna put a lot of pressure on defenses, that'll help out all of us, just seeing him line up everywhere.

"I'm excited for this year, especially for the guys we have coming in."

Harris confirmed he's noticed changes in what the players are being asked to do during OTAs and mandatory minicamp, but didn't elaborate.

"I don't want to go into details, but yeah," he said.

-- Blog entry by Mike Prisuta