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pete74
07-16-2010, 03:20 PM
In his first two NFL seasons, Steelers OT Tony Hills(notes) didn't appear in a single game, but along the way, he did learn some valuable lessons.


"Patience," Hills said. "That's been the biggest thing. I haven't had a lot of that growing up."


When the Steelers begin training camp on July 30, Hills, 25, will set out to prove his extended apprenticeship merits him playing time. And playing time could be had at right tackle, with starter Willie Colon(notes) expected to miss the season after rupturing his right Achilles tendon in June.

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A left tackle at Texas, Hills has received practice reps at both tackle spots with Pittsburgh. He said he has taken notice of how Colon, one of the game's better right tackles, plays the position.


"He's a great technician," Hills told PFW this week. "If you watch Willie and how he plays the game, you can pick up a lot playing with aggression, playing the right way."


Whether Hills will be among the competitors to replace Colon remains to be seen; the Steelers haven't divulged their strategy. Hills told PFW he hasn't been told what the club plans to do but wants to display the improvement he has made as a player in his third summer with Pittsburgh.


"My main focus going into training camp is to let the coaching staff know that I'm versatile and accountable," he said.


Versatility already has proven to be one of Hills' strong suits; a star tight end at Alief Elsik High School in Texas, Hills moved to tackle in college and started on the left side in his final two seasons with Texas. Hills also has proven his toughness and determination battling back from a serious leg injury suffered in his senior year of high school. In the state playoffs, Hills tore the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee and suffered nerve damage in his leg. Hills lost feeling in his left foot and underwent two surgeries to regain feeling in the foot. The injury no longer affects him today, he said.


Though playing time eluded him in the first two seasons, Hills said he stayed sharp by preparing as if he were a starter. This offseason, he has worked hard in the film room and weight room readying for his chance, and he knows making the most of any opportunity he receives in camp will be key.


"At this point in time, it's all about just showing what I can do," he said.

scsteeler
07-16-2010, 08:12 PM
Well hopefully he can show something that says he can take the starting role but that remains to be seen.

WeegiesWarriors
07-16-2010, 11:20 PM
When did Colon become one of the league's better tackles? The minute he was out for the season so that now the Steelers are even in worse position to win at least one game? Screw that. The difference between the best right tackle and the 32nd is minimal at best. Either you have the skills to play the position or you don't. Colon didn't distinguish himself anymore than anybody else on the line did.

We'll be fine at right tackle regardless who is playing it.

pete74
07-17-2010, 03:22 PM
i dont understand how all these people are saying Colon is one of the best. he is decent but he isnt a Tackel. he is a guard playing RT. if he was moved to guard i belive he could be a probowler but at tackel, he's no more then decent in my book and hopefully his injury will be another mans gain and someone will step up and steal the position.

The Lakelander
07-18-2010, 08:42 AM
When did Colon become one of the league's better tackles? The minute he was out for the season so that now the Steelers are even in worse position to win at least one game? Screw that. The difference between the best right tackle and the 32nd is minimal at best. Either you have the skills to play the position or you don't. Colon didn't distinguish himself anymore than anybody else on the line did.

We'll be fine at right tackle regardless who is playing it.


I gotta agree here with you Weegie!

Tone's Toes
07-18-2010, 06:07 PM
Colon is their best lineman. Pouncey will be better, but he isn't yet. Anyway, people are going to find out how good Colon is through his absence. They don't have anybody that can replace him and that line will suck even more this season.

Riddle_Of_Steel
07-18-2010, 06:10 PM
According to ProFootballFocus, Willie Colon was the 3rd best tackle in the NFL last season:

http://www.profootballfocus.com/by_position.php?tab=by_position&season=2009&pos=T&stype=r&runpass=&teamid=-1&numsnaps=75&numgames=1

They use an extended and sophisticated system of metrics, and by the numbers, Colon was one of the best, whether he belongs at RG or not is irrelevant-- he played RT and excelled at it.

I have seen other sport's communities that use their own system of metrics, and he always comes out in the top 5, if not higher.

Colon's only drawback is all of his neutral zone penalties. Take those away, and he was by far, our best Olineman.

vrabinec
07-19-2010, 11:59 AM
I saw Hills in both camps, and he couldn't come close to blocking Harrison or Woodley in pass protection. Not sure that disqualifies him, but it makes me skeptical that he's gonna get a starting nod. At least Colon could get set up before they got to him, Hills couldn't even do that. Let's face it, we're screwed at RT. Hills looks like a bust, Kemo has surprisingly little punch for as big and nasty as he's supposed to be, Urbik is strictly a guar, Scott got hurt, the other Scott got beat repeatedly in Buffalo. That leaves Ramon Foster and Essex vying for that spot, and neither one of those guys is the run blocker Colon is, and they aren't any better at pass blocking, if not worse.

Steelerfreak58
07-19-2010, 01:16 PM
Well the kid has had time to mature and learn the system. He should step up and take the spot if he has the ability to. I hope he comes in and can be a bright spot that not only fills in but shows he can play well at the NFL level. Right now we need all the help we can get on the line.

He can't say he hasn't had time to prepare.