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Broncos great Steve Atwater returning to the organization

Postby Angel92 » Aug 2nd, '17, 02:59

One of the greatest all-time Denver Broncos is returning to the organization. Former All-Pro safety Steve Atwater will return to the team as Fan Development Manager and Broncos Insider, the team announced.
Atwater, who donned the orange and blue from 1989 to 1998, ranks second all all time in postseason starts (14) for the Broncos behind only John Elway (21). His 155 starts for the Broncos ranks 10th all time. His 1,038 tackles rank third behind Dennis Smith and Karl Mecklenburg.
The Broncos drafted Atwater 20th overall out of Arkansas in 1989. The Chicago native played all but one season, his 11th and final with the Jets, in Denver.
Atwater was named to the Ring of Fame in 2005 and was a member of the NFL All-Decade team for the 1990s.
Known for his bone-jarring hits, Atwater is perhaps best remembered for this wallop on Chiefs running back Christian Okoye.
Of course, Atwater was much more than that one hit.
He was a two-time Super Bowl Champion (XXXII, XXXIII), two-time first-team All-Pro (1991, ’92) and eight-time Pro Bowler (1990-96, ’98). In Super Bowl XXXII, when Denver finally won its first Super Bowl, Atwater six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble to help defeat the Green Bay Packers.
In retirement, Atwater founded a real estate management company that had offices in 30 states by 2009.
Atwater was a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017 and a finalist in 2016.
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McClellan: Jones not as beloved as most Hall of Famers

Postby Angel92 » Aug 2nd, '17, 03:54

The number of Dallas Cowboys enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame will grow to 15 Saturday when owner Jerry Jones will be inducted along with the other members of the Class of 2017.
Jones will join Tom Landry and Tex Schramm in the group of non-playing Cowboys in Canton.
The dozen Cowboy players in the Hall are Bob Lilly, Bob Hayes, Mel Renfro, Roger Staubach, Rayfield Wright, Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and Larry Allen.
Of the 15 Cowboy Hall of Famers, I believe all but one are beloved by all true Dallas fans, and that one is the newest one – Jones.
True Cowboys fans either like or dislike Jones. There is no middle ground. And, if a poll was taken I’m pretty sure "dislike" would have the majority of the votes.
I, for one, would be in the "like" camp. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve disagreed with some things Jones has done or said many times since he bought the team in 1989, but I still believe he has been good for the Cowboys and the NFL.
In fact, his selection into the HOF has a lot to do with everything he has done for the NFL as a whole.
The dislike of Jones goes all the way back to 1989 and the firing of Landry. I agree it could have been handled better. However, most of those fans so up in arms about the firing were the same ones who, months earlier, were saying the game had past Landry by and it was time for him to go after the Cowboys went 7-9 in 1986, 7-8 in 1987 and 3-13 in 1988.
Landry wasn’t going to retire or step down on his own. He wanted to prove he could turn the team around again. As much as I loved and admired Landry and hated how the firing went down, I don’t believe Landry could have turned the team around. A new coach with a new vision was needed, as was a quick, yet painful, end to the Landry era.
Without Jones as the owner, I don’t believe the Cowboys would have won Super Bowls following the 1992, 1993 and 1995 seasons. That goes back to my belief that Bum Bright, the owner of the team prior to Jones, would have never fired Landry, and I’m not sure any other new owner would have either.
But, at the same time, I think Jones’ ego and mouth cost the Cowboys at least one or two more Super Bowl victories. If Jimmy Johnson had stayed as the head coach, I truly believe the Cowboys would have won four or more consecutive Super Bowl titles. However, I don’t think the breakup between the two college pals was entirely Jones’ fault. Johnson had a pretty big ego as well.
Jones has made his fair share of mistakes and Gosder Cherilus Womens Jersey a big one was taking over the general manager/player personnel duties after Johnson’s departure. For about a 10-year period Jones ran the whole show, and over the last seven years of that period Dallas had a winning percentage of around .410, made two playoff appearances and didn’t win a playoff game.
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Does Zack Martin feel he’s next up for contract extension?

Postby Angel92 » Aug 2nd, '17, 06:15

The Dallas Cowboys locked up one of their offensive linemen on Tuesday, extending right tackle La’el Collins through the 2019 season.
Is right guard Zack Martin next?
Martin is in line for a much more significant contract than Collins, but it’s something that Cowboys brass has expressed an interest in doing at some point in camp.
The highest paid guard in the NFL is Cleveland’s Kevin Zeitler, who signed a five-year, $60 million deal in the offseason.
Martin is expected to top that after making first-team All-Pro in two of his first three seasons (2014 and 2016), and a second-team All-Pro honor in the other year (2015).
So does Martin feel guards are underpaid in today’s game?
“You’ve seen the deals,” Martin said, smiling. “I think they’re doing just fine.”
Martin, 26, didn’t expound much more than that on a possible extension with the team, although he did appreciate comments made by executive vice president Stephen Jones on Sunday.
Jones said the Cowboys prioritize locking up Martin in training camp because “he represents everything we want our players to be about. He’s not only a great player on the field, he’s a great person off the field.”
Said Martin: “I’ve tried to come in here from Day 1 and be the same guy every day. Be a consistent player. I think that’s the most important thing is being as consistent as possible. The transition was pretty easy with the group we have, but in my eyes the most important thing is to be as consistent as possible.”
Martin has certainly been that in his tenure, helping the Cowboys become one of the best offenses in the league. The Cowboys have had a 1,000-yard running back in each of Martin’s three seasons.
Martin has allowed two sacks in each of his seasons, and has been flagged a total of nine times in his career. Martin had two penalties called against him last season – one for holding, one for a false start.
“I’ve got a long way to go and I want to continue to get better,” Martin said. “I say this a lot, but the best thing about playing offensive line is you can learn something new every time you turn on the tape. We have a lot of things to improve on and this is the time to do it. It’s going to be a big camp for all of us.”
Especially if Martin and the Cowboys reach a deal. The organization Devin McCourty Youth Jersey has done this sort of thing in previous training camps by locking up left tackle Tyron Smith in 2014 and center Travis Frederick last year.
The Cowboys exercised their fifth-year option on Martin earlier this offseason, which keeps him under team control in 2018 for $9.3 million if the sides don’t reach an agreement before then.
“Like I’ve said before, I’m going to keep doing me and that’s all I can do,” Martin said. “Obviously extremely happy for [Collins], love having him around. We’re going to have a lot of fun playing with each other this year.”
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Greg Gabriel: Breaking down Penn State S Marcus Allen

Postby Angel92 » Aug 2nd, '17, 06:57

We have seen in the past few years the emergence of safeties as premium draft choices. In this past Draft, three players at that position got selected in the opening round, and another six were selected in the second round. Needless to say it has become a very important position to NFL evaluators.
One of the more interesting safeties NFL scouts will be watching this season is Penn State’s Marcus Allen. Allen is a true fourth-year senior who has been a starter since midway through his freshman year. Last year, Allen was Penn State’s leading tackler, with 110 total tackles including six tackles for loss. As a sophomore in 2015 he was credited with 74 total tackles.
Allen has very good safety size. He is listed as being 6’2 – 205, but looks heavier and has the frame to easily carry 215-220 once he gets to the NFL. Allen is a good-to-real good athlete with good speed for the position. I would estimate his speed at about 4.55. While he is not a burner, he is quick and has a burst. As an athlete, Allen has quick feet, loose hips and easily changes direction. His body control in the open field is very good.
Allen has a solid, well-muscled frame and plays with both strength and explosion. He has snap through his hips on contact and when tackling, he seldom gives ground to his opponent.
Allen is best in the run game, where he can play either deep or close to the line of scrimmage. He is instinctive with quick reactions and makes plays both near the line of scrimmage and downfield. In the run game he is aggressive taking on blocks, can shed quickly and is a sure tackler. You see some blow-up hits on occasion.
In the pass game, Allen again plays both up close to the line of scrimmage and deep. He is used mostly in zone but does matchup in man coverage at times. He has the quickness and suddenness needed to play man along with good play speed. In zone he gets depth, is alert and does a good job keeping plays in front of him. Allen shows he can come off the hash or from the middle of the field and make plays on the ball at the sideline.
The main concern with Allen in coverage is that, even though he has started games since his freshman year, he still doesn’t have a single interception. He makes plays on the ball and gets PBUs, just not picks. As good of a player as he is in the run game, his lack of interceptions will be a concern to scouts. Go back to last year, and you can remember all the talk about Michigan’s Jabril Peppers’ reported lack of ball skills. Unless he makes some plays on the ball and gets interceptions, Allen will come with the same worries.
Overall, I see Allen being a strong safety once he reaches the NFL. With his size, strength and explosiveness, he may also be looked at as a potential hybrid linebacker-type by some clubs. While he can be a very steady player in the run game, he has to improve his ball skills in order to be a regular at the NFL level. If he shows Michael Thomas Kids Jersey improvement in that area this season, it will improve his draft stock tremendously. The college season opens up in less than five weeks, so we will find out soon enough.
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Cohesion key for success of Steelers' offensive line

Postby Angel92 » Aug 2nd, '17, 07:46

It was mentioned to Steelers guard Ramon Foster that during the heavy-hitting first training camp practice with pads Sunday, players from almost every position exited early because of injury or heat-related symptoms.
The offensive line, though, was spared.
“Let's knock on wood on that,” Foster said smiling.
A few hours later, Foster was standing on the sidelines in shorts watching the team's second padded practice. It likely was a precautionary day off for a ninth-year veteran coming back from offseason right knee surgery, but his absence was illustrative of the difficulty in keeping an offensive line intact if even for abbreviated periods of time.
Consider the Steelers this year will try to do something they have not accomplished since the 2005-06 seasons: start the same five offensive linemen in the season opener in successive years.
Be it because of injury, emerging draft picks or veterans departing via free agency, the last time the Steelers had all five returning starters on the line was the year after they won Super Bowl XL. Center Jeff Hartings was flanked by guards Kendall Simmons and Alan Faneca and tackles Marvel Smith and Max Starks.
Barring a training camp setback, the Steelers will start the same five linemen from the 2016 opener ­— center Maurkice Pouncey, guards David DeCastro and Foster, and tackles Marcus Gilbert and Alejandro Villanueva — when they play in Cleveland on Sept. 10.
The health of the offensive line was a big reason the Steelers had an 11-5 record and advanced to the AFC Championship game last year. The line had only five man-games lost to injury, two by Foster and three by Gilbert.
“For any offensive line, anyone knows that (cohesion) is the key,” offensive line coach Mike Munchak said. “Communication is so important in the NFL. The offense we run, with a lot of no-huddle with Ben (Roethlisberger), there are a lot of code words, a lot of adjustments during the game even within plays, it helps to have a veteran group that can handle things.
“It's not easy.”
Keeping Pouncey healthy is imperative. He hasn't played back-to-back seasons since 2011-12, missing all but a handful of snaps in 2013 and the entire season in 2015.
Gilbert started at least 12 games in each of the past four seasons. DeCastro has started all but one game the past four years. Foster has started at least 14 games in each of the past six seasons. Villanueva, the least-experienced regular on the line, has started 31 consecutive games (including playoffs) since moving into the starting lineup in the 2015 season.
“You don't have lines like this in the league,” Foster said. “You don't have lines that have been together for a while. There is a lot of turnover in this league. To have guys together for this long, even some of the backups, is an awesome thing.”
When Villanueva signed a four-year, $24 million contract last Thursday, it ensured all five linemen were under contract through at least 2018. DeCastro and Villanueva have deals that extend into the next decade, and Pouncey and Gilbert are signed for three more years apiece.
Even the backups are experienced playing in Munchak's system. Top reserves Chris Hubbard and B.J. Finney made starts last year, and 2016 fourth-round pick Jerald Hawkins spent his rookie season learning the system while on injured reserve.
“If you notice, Pittsburgh is already building for the lines behind us already,” Foster said. “That's what they've done for years and years and years. When the older guys were in front of me, they were building me up.”
Before this group gets pushed out, it would like to start in a Super Bowl. After coming up a game short last season, the Steelers linemen hope to build on the success attained in that campaign when they allowed the second-fewest sacks in the NFL and paved the way for running back Le'Veon Bell to rush for 1,268 yards in only 12 games.
“We have to take advantage of it,” DeCastro said. “We've got a very small window to really take advantage of it and play good football.”
Foster acknowledged it won't be easy, much Ronald Darby Youth Jersey like trying to start the same five linemen in successive years. But it helps the line includes a five-time Pro Bowl representative in Pouncey and a two-time recipient in DeCastro. Gilbert also is considered a Pro Bowl-caliber player.
“The longer we play together and the better and better we get, the bigger the bull's-eye is,” Foster said. “We have to make sure we're on top of our jobs.”
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Who should be in the Hall of Fame? Picking the Class of 2018

Postby Angel92 » Aug 2nd, '17, 08:31

This weekend, the Pro Football Hall of Fame will enshrine the Class of 2017 in Canton, Ohio. Who should earn this honor next year? What about in 2022? Elliot Harrison looks ahead and shares who he would put on his ballot for the next five classes of Hall of Famers.
Brian Dawkins, safety
Putting Dawkins first on my faux ballot is intentional -- he's the most deserving. Dawkins has already waited one year. Given that he is a safety, a position to which the voters have demonstrated a decades-long aversion, he might have to sit next to the phone a bit longer in reality. But that's bunk. All of it, man. Forget that Dawkins was a four-time first-team All-Pro, the best player at his position in the early 2000s, or on the All-Decade Team for the 2000s, and remember what he wasn't: a distraction. (Take a look at the following names on this ballot for the relevance of that statement.) Remarkably, Dawkins isn't considered a shoo-in for the Hall despite compiling 91 impact plays over his career (37 interceptions, 28 forced fumbles and 26 sacks).
Unlike his contemporary Dawkins (both came into the league in 1996), Lewis won't have to wait. Lewis remains a lock for the Hall of Fame, as he was oft-mentioned in that regard while still playing. He is part of an exclusive fraternity of players who have won multiple DPOY awards since the honor became official in 1971, a who's who of legends: "Mean" Joe Greene, Lawrence Taylor, Mike Singletary, Reggie White, Bruce Smith and J.J. Watt. All but the still-active Watt are first-ballot enshrinees in Canton. Lewis is one of only two guys to be named the league's top defensive player and Super Bowl MVP during the same season (Harvey Martin, who was named co-MVP of Super Bowl XII after being the DPOY of 1977). Named to the All-Decade Team of the 2000s, Lewis performed at a high level for well over 10 years with the Ravens.
Alan Faneca, guard
As a member of the Steelers from 1998 to 2007, Faneca had to get out in space and block Lewis a time or 200. Along with Steve Hutchinson, Faneca was the best player at his position in the early 2000s, making first-team All-Pro six times. When you talk about putting a guard in the Hall of Fame, you must mention the credentials, although sometimes that rings hollow. People get tired of hearing about Pro Bowls and the like. Thus, here are two items that more than support Faneca's enshrinement. Dermontti Dawson, a Hall of Fame Mario Williams Womens Jersey center for the Steelers, told me that he could tell Faneca was special during Faneca's first training camp. Also, in supporting Faneca's candidacy earlier this year, I pulled a random play in a random game from 2003 to share with the masses. Take a look:
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Quick Hits: Khalil Mack Recaps First Day Of Training Camp Pr

Postby Angel92 » Aug 3rd, '17, 01:58

The Oakland Raiders completed their first official practice of Training Camp 2017 Saturday afternoon, and reigning AP Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack seemed thrilled to be back on the field. Mack is entering his fourth season in the NFL, and is looking to continue his progression as one of the best pass-rushers in the league. Following practice, he took the podium to speak with reporters about a productive first day.
Here are the quick hits from his media session:
Mack spoke briefly about what it’s like seeing alumni of the team come out to Napa Valley for training camp.
“It’s always great to see those guys, and be amongst them, and learn from them. Glad to see them every time they’re here.”
Hall of Famer Howie Long said Mack has yet to reach his full potential, but as good as he already is, No. 52 feels like he needs to accomplish more.
“It speaks volumes when you hear from a guy like that, but just the mindset I have in general I’m not even on… What’d he say? Level four? Level three? Yeah, I’m not even that close yet. I’m just out here trying to get better every day.”
After recently attending Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller’s summit in San Francisco, Mack reflected on what it was like to be there.
“It was dope, man. I thought at first it was going to be something for the kids out this way in San Francisco, but when I got there it was only NFL guys, and I was like, ‘what’s going on?’ And he was like, ‘bro, we came here to get some work.’ Luckily I had my cleats and I was like, ‘alright, cool.’ It was good though, man. Got a lot of great information from Demarcus Ware and all the other guys that were there, and it was something that helped me.”
With the rookies now in the fold, he’s taken notice of former Wake Forest linebacker Marquel Lee, and is anxious to see him play.
“I mean, I wouldn’t say in regards to me, because it’s a whole different kind of perspective, and whole different kind of position. But at the same time he’s a hell of a player, I can see it already. He has that juice in him, you know what I’m saying? It’s something that I kind of talk to him here and there just to see where his mind’s at, but it’s something we’ll figure out throughout the camp. When we put the pads on, that’s when you can really figure out what type of player you’re dealing with.”
Mack touched on what’s next for the Sean Weatherspoon Womens Jersey Raiders defense in the coming weeks.
“The next step is what you see now: training camp, coming out here, getting the camaraderie right, getting the cohesiveness together, getting everybody on the same page. You got everybody believing in one thing, and focusing on one thing, and trying to achieve one thing, and focusing on that, it’ll be sky’s the limit.”
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Fielding an upgraded defense, Saints look to improve standin

Postby Angel92 » Aug 3rd, '17, 02:49

For all of the moves the New Orleans Saints have made this offseason, the book on the team remains the same.
As long as Drew Brees and Sean Payton are in charge, the offense will be explosive.
But the defense has to carry more of the weight.
The Saints finished 28th in the NFL or worse in scoring defense in each of the past three years. Now, in training camp, Dennis Allen's unit must improve for the team to be a playoff contender.
"Our defense has to improve, and we’ve brought some guys in at every level with the D-line, the linebackers and safeties," general manager Mickey Loomis said Wednesday. "I feel good about the additions, but we’re going to have to get into this training camp and get into the early part of the season to see what the results are."
Injuries crippled the Saints' best-laid plans for defensive personnel the past two seasons, and Allen spent last year constantly tweaking his scheme to account for players moving in and out of the lineup.
"You know, in our league, you never know what's going to happen," Allen said. "All of a sudden, you have an injury or somebody's released, and now you've got to adjust your thought process."
With that in mind, the Saints spent the offseason determined to build depth at all levels of the defense.
New Orleans added edge rusher Alex Okafor, linebackers A.J. Klein and Manti Te'o, brought back safety Rafael Bush and spent five of its seven draft picks on defensive players.
"We're pretty much starting from scratch," defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "Three or four new linebackers, we've got another edge defender in Alex Okafor. We've got two new young guys in (Al-Quadin Muhammad) and Trey (Hendrickson). Hau'oli (Kikaha) is coming back healthy. You talk about the secondary — I don't know what the shape of that's going to be, but I do know this defense has high potential."
Allen's defense suffered at least one major blow before the team even reported for training camp last week.
When defensive tackle Nick Fairley was forced to the sideline for at least this season because of a heart condition, New Orleans lost a player who recorded 6½ sacks last season and was expected to be an integral part of the pass rush.
"The only area that was a step back initially would be Nick Fairley," Payton said. "That being said, we feel pretty good with some of the draft picks, some of the free agents — I mentioned the secondary. Some of these young guys are going to play.
"I know we are deeper at linebacker. When you just look from last year to this year, we are going to be better on defense. Now, in which areas and how much better is going to be important."
Allen's job in training camp is sifting through all his options to find the right mix in the starting lineup.
He can adjust his defense to fit just about any personnel group.
Figuring out what that personnel group should be is the tough part.
"At the end of the day, when we start playing games, the biggest thing is how do we get our best 11 players on the field, and how do we as a coaching staff try to do the things that they do the best?" Allen said.
The Saints defense is focused on other big-picture goals in training camp — namely forcing turnovers and playing better situational football.
NFL defenses have an almost endless database of information on opposing offenses, and good teams sift through that information to get a better idea of what a quarterback is trying to do on a given play.
"You can start eliminating what the offense is trying to do based on the situation, the formation and what time of game it is," safety Kenny Vaccaro said.
New Orleans is also focused on creating more turnovers after Terrance West Youth Jersey finishing in the middle of the pack a year ago.
"It's the biggest factor in today's game," Vaccaro said. "You can be last in the league in total yards but lead the league in turnovers — especially with the way we've been struggling the last couple of years — and to get turnovers, it can be a quick change, quick turnaround."
New Orleans has focused on all of these keys in previous seasons, too.
But the Saints know they need to turn the corner.
"I've said it in years before: We have high potential, but this year, we need to capitalize," Jordan said. "We need to recognize what we can be and reach for it."
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Crowded House; Steelers have depth, diversity at receiver

Postby Angel92 » Aug 3rd, '17, 03:33

Their All-Pro wide receiver spent the day welcoming newborn son Apollo into the world. Their talented but enigmatic project watched practice in a long-sleeved T-shirt and shorts waiting for the NFL to fully reinstate him after a year away from the game for running afoul of the league's substance abuse policy.
The guy with more receptions of 40-yards or more than anyone on the team last fall jogged around with his surgically repaired left knee wrapped in ice.
Oh, and perhaps the NFL's best running back remains in Miami, his pen yet to sign his franchise tender.
And yet even without Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates and Le'Veon Bell on Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Steelers and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger weren't exactly lacking for options.
There was veteran Justin Hunter — trying to catch on in Pittsburgh after splitting last season with Miami and Buffalo — using every inch of his 6-foot-4 frame to haul in a pass in the back of the end zone. There was Eli Rogers — a slot guy by trade — lining up on the outside and winning a 50/50 ball. There was 20-year-old rookie Juju Smith-Schuster — fresh off an ankle injury that forced the second-round pick to watch the opening few days of camp from the sideline - making a sliding grab one minute then showing off his blocking prowess for former Steeler wide receiver Hines Ward the next.
Brown will slip back into his familiar No. 1 role when he returns. Bryant will be given every chance to show he can be the No. 2 provided he keeps taking all the necessary steps. After that, the picture is considerably blurry. And that's a good thing for an offense that expects to be among the NFL's most dynamic.
Maybe that's why Roethlisberger is even chattier than usual these days. The depth and diversity at wide receiver has never been greater in his 14-year career. So is the potential.
"I want them to know what I see and I expect when we're out there," Roethlisberger said.
Namely, production. Lots of it.
Roethlisberger won't lack for options, a sharp contrast to the makeshift group the Steelers took to New England in January. Bryant was suspended. Coates wasn't anywhere close to 100 percent. Markus Wheaton was on injured reserve. Tight end Ladarius Green in sweats dealing with a concussion.
In their place were seventh-round pick Demarcus Ayers and undrafted free agents Rogers and Cobi Hamilton. Hamilton provided Pittsburgh's lone touchdown, a 30-yard rainbow to save a little face at the end of a 36-17 blowout. It was also a cap on Hamilton's rise from a player who began 2016 on his couch to significant contributor on a division champion.
Seven months later, Hamilton is well aware a job come early September is anything but assured. That's the business.
"Every team drafts a wide receiver, every team went out and got a wide receiver from another team," Hamilton said. "This is kind of how it goes."
Brown, Bryant and Smith-Schuster's spots are secure. Darrius Heyward-Bey remains one of the fastest players in the league and is a special teams ace. That leaves two spots at most to emerge from a cluttered group that includes Hunter, who has played for three teams over the course of the last two seasons searching for the right landing spot.
Hunter has spent most of the opening week Chuck Howley Youth Jersey working with the starters while Bryant clears the league-mandated procedural hurdles required to end his winding path back to the team. The former second-round pick hasn't wasted any time making an impression, making at least one highlight reel grab during every session.
"I thrive off competition," Hunter said. "I like the offense and how they distribute the ball real well during the season. I just wanted to be a part of it."
Hunter and Smith-Schuster give the Steelers some insurance in case of another misstep by Bryant, one that Bryant knows would likely end his career. He and Roethlisberger sat down for a heart-to-heart recently to clear the air after Bryant took issue with the quarterback's public admonishment of him following Bryant's most recent suspension.
Roethlisberger stressed he and Bryant "were never really off the same page" and that "there never was an issue." Roethlisberger is more concerned with getting Bryant back on the field, saying Bryant has "paid his dues."
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Fowler Predicts T.J. Watt Will Be Hard For Steelers To Keep

Postby Angel92 » Aug 3rd, '17, 06:22

Training camp is always a long process, but sometimes there are simply things that it doesn’t take long to get a feel for. For Jeremy Fowler, the ESPN writer has a feeling in the early stages of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and that is this: rookie first-round draft pick T.J. Watt is going to be hard to keep off the field.
For somebody who is not projected to be a starter, that is not necessarily a statement that you hear all the time. But the outside linebacker has been seriously impressing his coaches, his teammates, and everybody else who has watched him all through the spring and into the first couple of days of padded practices.
While he may have had his hands full with “Big Al” over at left tackle, Watt has shown that his nose has been in the play book and that he is developing an arsenal of pass-rushing moves that does include a speed rush.
“The first-round pass-rusher was a fast learner in the spring”, Fowler writes, “with a quick first step and good discipline in the defense. If he progresses as the Steelers hope he will, the team has the option to rest Harrison early in the season and get Watt valuable snaps alongside Dupree”.
Harrison is, of course, James Harrison, the 39-year-old former Defensive Player of the Year, who regained his starting position by the end of last season. Previously rotating with Jarvis Jones, who was getting the lion’s share of snaps, the veteran was hardly even coming off the field by the time the playoffs arrived.
And Dupree would be referring to Bud Dupree, the other former first-round draft pick at the outside linebacker position that is still on the roster. The third-year pass-rusher is expected to have a big breakout year this season after showing promise at the end of last season, returning from sports hernia surgery that sidelined him for most of the year.
While Harrison may be the starter, the plan has always been that he will get his rest, and even he knows that he needs his rest. He told reporters that he is comfortable playing 45 to 55 snaps per game, but even that is a light workload for the number of snaps that the defense has faced in an average game in recent years.
The coaching staff has also been testing Watt to Darrius Heywardbey Youth Jersey see how many things they can throw at him. They already have him working in dropping into dynamic coverages and even flipping sides with Dupree. He has of course been afforded the opportunity to work with the first-team defense while Harrison is being held out.
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