PITTSBURGH – This is the second of two posts recapping the Pittsburgh Steelers' offseason in the words of the coaches and the players.
Here is what the coaches said during the offseason practices.
“They’ve done a nice job but you can convince yourself of anything this time of year. I’m not interested in telling a story to myself. This isn’t football. It’s football-like and it’s a great opportunity to improve and learn and develop, gain cohesion and understanding. That’s what this is about as opposed to evaluating performance.” – coach Mike Tomlin on the progress the Steelers made during offseason practices
"I don’t like to play rookies because defensive football there’s two things that can get you beat. One of them is missed tackles. The other one is mental mistakes. Normally when you try to learn this defense it’s going to take you a little while to do it. He understands concepts and picks things up a little bit easier than most rookies. I think Lawrence Timmons will help him and some of the other guys will help him learn to run this defense. We don’t have a choice whether we can play him or not. We’ve got to play him and we’ve got to be faster and we’ve got to win.” – linebackers coach Keith Butler on rookie inside linebacker Ryan Shazier
“He’s a stud. Really nobody was happier when Coach Tomlin, Kevin Colbert and Mr. Rooney were able to pull off getting him to come on board. He’s a great teacher. He’s great at what he does, the best in the league in my opinion. He seamlessly transitioned into our staff. We’ve all hit it off.” – offensive coordinator Todd Haley on the addition of offensive line coach Mike Munchak
“I think he’s been doing a great job. He’s doing good at something on both sides as a third tackle pushing Marcus [Gilbert], pushing [Kelvin] Beachum. And for a coach that’s a great thing to have because those guys understand that we have some good talent at that position. Then two, I think it’s a matter of him getting [better], but I think all three of them have gotten better. A lot of it is going to depend on the consistency when we get to training camp and then when you get in the preseason games to have the best guys out there playing. Obviously they all can’t play so someone is going to be sitting so that’s the hard part about this..” – Munchak on Mike Adams and the Steelers’ situation at offensive tackle.
“I can’t see myself putting on s suit and tie and sitting behind a desk for eight hours. That would just drive me crazy. I need the smell of the grass. I need to be out here on a football field. I feel like I’m at my best when I’m out here. Even though I can’t play anymore I still feel like I have a good opportunity to help kids who want to get there.” – new defensive assistant Joey Porter on pursuing a career in coaching
“Mike Mitchell is very fast and a good, solid tackler. An excellent blitzer actually. I looked at quite a bit of his tape during the free-agency period and you had to look pretty far to find any weaknesses.” – defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau on the Steelers’ new starter at free safety.
“We feel like he can be our ace in the hole, or the joker, since we can use him in various positions. We can move him around. We can utilize his running ability as a running back and his receiving skills. I think it’s up to Coach Haley and the offensive staff to put him in places where he can succeed. I think he’s going to be a weapon for us.” – wide receivers coach Richard Mann on rookie Dri Archer’s versatility
“Obviously Dri Archer is going to be a big factor. He has a lot to learn, a lot to work on and he does and he will. His speed speaks for itself but there will be a big pool of numbers and again you can never have enough of those kind of guys. We have more to choose from than we’ve had in the past. That’s a great situation to be in.” – special teams coordinator Danny Smith on the Steelers’ pool of potential kick returners
"It’s as deep a group as I have been around, from top to bottom. I think some guys that are pretty good football players probably won’t make the team. A guy like Lance Moore has come in and as advertised is a smart, sharp guy that has picked things up pretty quick. Then you have some guys like Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown that have been here, and you can see that they now have a year under their belt. They have a different confidence level in what they are doing and what we are doing.” – Haley on the Steelers’ wide receivers
“Arthur Moats has done a good job for us and Chris Carter’ has had a good offseason for us so we’ll see when we get to camp. Things usually iron themselves out when we get to training camp and we’ll have a better understanding of where we stand when it comes to depth.” – Butler on the Steelers’ depth at outside linebacker