It was kind of embarassing when I told some of my counterparts as we walked in to watch Steelers training camp that I had never been. I have lived in Greensburg for over six years and I just never made it out to camp.
I made my pilgrimage to Pittsburgh after a few long days, but it was worth it. Sitting in the stands with my fellow Steelers fans just felt right. It is the way it should be. One side note about the whole experience was the feeling you get by actually being in Pennsylvania. Traveling though the boring states like Indiana and Ohio you really get an appreciation for Pennsylvania and how awesome it is. When you hit the state line you just feel different. You are automatically in the best shape of your life. No lie.
Well one of the real reasons for this is to tell you a little about camp. They said there was 12,000 in Latrobe for the annual night practice, and they got to see some pretty sweet stuff if you were actually watching the football and not just yelling Troy's name to get an autograph or trying to listen to the average at very best band before hand.
A few news and notes I took in from practice:
Jonathan Dwyer was very impressive in my eyes. He hasn't been practicing much with a hamstring problem but he was hitting holes and giving a burst through the line on a few runs plays. This also makes me feel good about the line since Mendenhall was also getting some holes. Both Dwyer and Mendenhall looked very good and especially good with their burst of speed once they hit the hole.
Dan Sepulveda spend the second half of the camp session kicking off. This is really the first I heard/saw him actually take extensive time kicking off, but I am not going to lie I was really impressed. Sepulveda was regularly getting the ball into the end zone, which as we know was a problem for the Steelers for the past couple of years. Jeff Reed is a good kicker (and hitter of paper towel dispensers) but he just can't get it to the end zone for even a few touchbacks. There is nothing bigger than after scoring a big touchdown kicking the ball out of the back of the end zone and making the other team go 80 yards. Hopefully Sepulveda can do that for us.
Sticking with the special teams flow, I thought Stef Logan did a very nice job returning kicks. Now, I am not a huge believer that Logan is going to make the team this year, and in order to he will have to do a lot more than last year. All that being said I thought he was dynamic at practice and was hitting the holes without hesitation. Part of this might be due to a new special teams coach and philosophy, but in order to make this team Logan is going to have to do a lot. If he does what he did at the session I was at, he will be more than ok.
Ben Roethlisberger was his normal self. He was throwing some great balls and really looked like he was in tune with his receivers. The one receiver that Ben working with the best last night was Arnez Battle. One would think that Mike Wallace would be that "comfort" guy, but Ben was going to Battle a lot. Pretty interesting, but it was Battle that was the "go to guy". I am ok with that. Wallace will be keyed on more this year and the more comfortable that Ben can get with Battle and El the better.
Dennis Dixon did not look good. He was badly underthrowing receivers, missing reads, and threw a few picks. Now, the picks were not all his fault but he did not look like a guy that was ready to step in and be a starting QB. Leftwhich looked pretty good and when compared to Dixon he like miles ahead. Sure it is only one day, but he is going to have to show a lot.
I have a good bit of pictures and a lot of video that I will throw up here in the next few days so make sure you look for that. It is a great day to be a Steelers fan, and from what I saw this team is going to turn a lot of heads after not being talked about at all.