Evaluations continue: Training camp came to a close on Tuesday, but player evaluations are far from over before the 53-man roster is determined. The Steelers have three preseason games remaining, including Thursday night against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Among those getting a closer look, especially with T.J. Watt missing time in camp, are outside linebackers Keion Adams and Olasunkanmi Adeniyi.
“They’ve had their moments. They’re both adjusting,” said Coach Mike Tomlin. “Guys that played defensive end like positions at times in college. Not displeased with what I’ve seen. We have more work to do in both instances. It’s less about outside linebacker play and more about their adjustments in the special teams phase of the game. How they get acclimated to playing in space and some of the responsibility associated with that play as well. You can’t evaluate young outside backers or young defenders specifically without including that element of the equation in the evaluation.”
Flipping for him: Another young player who has drawn a lot of attention, and opened a lot of eyes, is rookie Damoun Patterson, who was signed after rookie minicamp when he came in for a tryout. Patterson had six receptions for 77 yards and a 29-yard touchdown reception, followed by an epic backflip, in the preseason opener against the Eagles. The key now is to continue in that same direction this week against the Packers.
“It's safe to say you can characterize that as a positive first performance,” said Tomlin. “Let's see if he can build upon the positive aspects of that performance and some negative within that performance that I'm sure we're not discussing – see if we can minimize that. He is just an example.
“All of those guys that played in that game have aspects of their play that fall into those categories, and those are the ways that we're challenging them as we step into the second stadium. a lot of those guys you had thoughts about maybe what they're capable of. You see evidence of it out here. But until you step into a stadium and you're playing football, with all of the moving parts and variables that occur in a stadium, you don't know. It is a big opportunity to build and to accentuate the positive and work to minimize the things that weren't.”
Take a look at photos of the Pittsburgh Steelers 15th and final day of training camp.
Offense keeps moving forward: The Steelers offense continues to evolve under new coordinator Randy Fichtner, and for those looking for answers on how far it’s come, it’s simple. Time will tell.
“We are going through a transition with Randy as a coordinator, but we do have continuity in that he’s been here and been a part of us,” said Tomlin. “The language and terminology and things are changing, so a lot of the things that you are referring to or clarity that you are seeking is going to be revealed in play calling and rhythm in terms of how the game is played out. We’ll continue to get prepared and that will be revealed to all of us as we push through the season.”