Tuesday, June 12th was the Pittsburgh Steelers' first day of mandatory Minicamp at the team's South Side facility. After watching the afternoon practice, here were the most interesting quotes I listened to:
<b>Head Coach Mike Tomlin</b>
on WR Mike Wallace's absence:
"I don't have any reservations in that regard, Mike has always been a guy that's been in tip-top condition over a twelve month calendar since we've had him. He's a sharp guy, I'm sure he's working at the learning element of it but there's no substitute for being here, being around your teammates, and learning the nuances, learning from other people's mistakes and things of that nature. It's probably short-term misery, hopefully there'll be some closure to this and it'll be in our rear-view mirror at some point but right now obviously he'd be better served if he was here working."
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger
On Mike Wallace's absence:
"I'd love to have him here because he's a great friend and great teammate. But I'm not worried, I know he's going to get here when it's right, when they get something done."
On whether the team can win with the group of WRs that did practice:
"Absolutely… I still want Mike though."
On the common mistakes he saw on the field:
"I'd like to say there weren't common mistakes, I felt like we did pretty good. Obviously the rookies are going to make a lot of mistakes, but I even told [Mike] Adams, you know Coach [Kugler] got on you, and you're going to make another [mistake] but the key is not to make that same mistake twice. I really felt like the day went pretty well."
On their no-huddle offense work:
"We scored. We got down the field, I called a couple of the plays, Coach called a couple of the plays and I think it went pretty well. I don't know if I called it right, I actually called a play that I though was a play but it's actually a formation now. We got it straightened out. It was like riding a bike with training wheels, but hopefully we can get them off soon. Once or twice today I reverted back to old words and old things, so I'm just trying not to make any [mistakes] tomorrow."
Quarterback Byron Leftwich
On the number of new offenses he's learned in his NFL career:
"Six offenses in the NFL. This will be my seventh. You know football is football, it's just different terminology of saying things. That's the tough part, just re-learning how to say the same things from last year. We're doing a better job with it, as you can see some guys are making more plays because they're having better understanding of what Todd Haley wants out of everything."
On the difficulty of learning Todd Haley's offense:
"It is a learning curve [laughs]. Especially from the quarterback position, you visualize plays as they're being called into you. But you've got to able to know what the guy is saying to you before you visualize that play. And you've got to be able to help guys, so you've got to know more than everybody on the field. There's been times where we get a play and we'll translate it into what we called it [last year], and we'll [understand] it. That's the good thing about having Randy [Fichtner] as our [quarterbacks] coach, because he was here last year and that early on helped us in the teaching process. Everything was completely different."
"In the beginning, a guy [in the huddle] gives you that look but you have nothing to tell him [laughs]. He's pretty much on his own. That's where we were at in the beginning of OTAs, but now the quarterbacks, we know where guys are supposed to be so you can see more and more we're beginning to help guys out there. And the good thing is, we all went through this at the same time, there wasn't a lot of complaining we said, 'Hey let's get in here and learn this thing.' We know what the big goal is, getting ready for Week 1."
On whether he likes the new offense:
"Oh yeah, I mean we haven't started playing football yet because football doesn't start until you put shoulder pads on, but so far so good. Right now we're just trying to learn how Todd [Haley] wants things done, how Todd thinks. That quarterback-coach relationship where on third-and-six, I already know what he's thinking before he calls it. I knew [with Bruce Arians] what set of plays, and sometimes he wouldn't have to finish the play. You just knew what he was thinking at the time, and that's the relationship we've got to get with Todd. And that's not hard to build as much time as we spend around one another. We all want to know it like Todd knows it. So far, we've been doing a good job of that."
Tackle Trai Essex
On how rookies David Decastro and Mike Adams handled minicamp:
"The rookies that came in did a great job considering it was their first practice. You saw Marcus Gilbert started most of the year last year with an abbreviated offseason to say the least. We didn't have any kind of OTAs, minicamp, went straight into training camp and for him to come in and do the job he did for Willie [Colon], goes to say how prepared rookies are now versus when I was a rookie. These rookies seem to be on it."