Steeler Nation, its that time of year again,as the Steelers began the first day of their 2014 OTAs “organized team activities”.This was the first of a scheduled ten OTAs running through June 12th.
Here are some news & notes from Tuesdays OTAS…
Center Maurkice Pouncey was full go at practice and could not be happier after missing the 2013 season with a knee injury. Pouncey spoke with reporters after practice….
Maurkice Pouncey: “I am out here, full-go.” “It was a big step for my coaches to see it, my teammates to see it, and for me, it was pretty cool, I was able to block guys and finish on some plays. It was pretty awesome.”
Pouncey said he had no problem running and that the knee felt fine afterwards.
Steelers’ 2014 first round pick ILB Ryan Shazier worked with the first-team defense. Shazier practiced at the Mack position and Lawrence Timmons played the Buck. Timmons spoke about Shazier and learning a new position with his new teammate…
Lawrence Timmons: “The guy’s(Shazier) resume is something impressive. I’m just happy to work out here with him. He played the ‘Mack,’ I played the ‘Buck.’ We’re both learning now because it’s my first time playing the ‘Buck.’ Everybody’s out here trying to be a player of the game right now.”
Speaking of Inside linebackers,Sean Spence looked to have no limitations with his mobility and practiced with out a brace. Spence has been recovering from a horrific knee injury for the past two seasons and may finally get a chance to see some NFL action.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was asked about his contract and if there are on going talks of an extension. Here is what he had to say on the subject…
Ben Roethlisberger: “I tell my agent if anything important happens let me know, if its not important , I don’t care , I just want to play football, that’s all that matters to me.”
OTA’s are voluntary for players and the two biggest names missing from today’s practice were Safety Troy Polamalu and Cornerback Ike Taylor. Neither is a surprise as Polamalu and Taylor customarily have their own strict off-season training regimens elsewhere.
Kicker Shaun Suisham hit a 60 yard field goal during practice.
Second year Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones said coaches want him to stay at 245 and work on strength and technique and that the addition of assistant coach Joey Porter has already helped him out greatly in both areas.
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones : “My whole thing is getting stronger, being able to play with leverage and the right technique, It’s not night and day, but it’s a whole lot better, man,my instincts are a whole lot better. I’m not out there second-guessing myself. I can line myself up. This system’s hard, man. Anybody who plays in this system is going to tell you it’s hard.”
“He’s(Coach Joey Porter) got the mindset of a baller,” Jones said. “We’re trying to get hip to that. He’s really put an emphasis on learning how to play this system, how to use the right technique, how to line up with my feet and hands. That’s what’s really important right now.”
The Steelers also signed two more draft picks Fifth round pick and 173 overall ,Wesley Johnson , 6-5, 297, OT, out of Vanderbilt and sixth round pick and 192 overall Jordan Zumwalt,6-4, 225 ILB, out of UCLA both signed four year contracts.Financial terms of the four-year deals were not disclosed.
The Pittsburgh Steelers now have 4 of their 9, 2014 draft class signed and under contract.