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Old 06-12-2012, 08:56 PM   #31
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Default Re: Rookies DeCastro & Adams Look To Buck Steelers History By Both Starting Week 1

Nice read Hawaii thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:04 PM   #32
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Default Re: Rookies DeCastro & Adams Look To Buck Steelers History By Both Starting Week 1

lol, now Trai Essex is complaining about someone else's lack of effort in finishing up a play!!!

... uhhhhhh seriously, but thanks for losing some weight Trai

Nice read Hawaii thanks for sharing.
As always, you the man!
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Old 06-13-2012, 12:42 AM   #33
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Default Re: Rookies DeCastro & Adams Look To Buck Steelers History By Both Starting Week 1

Steelers' top 2 draft picks start 'process' at last

June 13, 2012
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Steelers No. 1 pick David DeCastro works on his first day in uniform.

The Steelers saw the future of their offensive line on the football field for the first time Tuesday, even if it was a little disjointed. That might soon change.

Their top two draft choices -- guard David DeCastro and tackle Michael Adams -- finally got to join their new teammates after being forced to miss all offseason training activities. They will spend the next two days of the three-day minicamp getting to know the veteran players in the locker room and hoping to make a bigger impression on the coaching staff.

"I'm so happy to get here with these guys," said Adams, a second-round choice from Ohio State. "I kind of checked out of school a while ago. I just wanted to be here, be back with my team."

DeCastro, their No. 1 pick from Stanford, and Adams might be future starters on the offensive line, perhaps as early as training camp. But they began minicamp with the second team.

DeCastro lined up at right guard -- the position he likely will man with the first team when the regular season begins Sept. 9 in Denver. Adams lined up at left tackle -- a position currently manned by Marcus Gilbert, the Steelers' No. 2 draft choice last year who started 15 games at right tackle as a rookie.

"That's why you play the game," DeCastro said about being a starter. "I don't think anyone in this room wants to be a bench-warmer."

Neither could participate in the voluntary OTAs because NFL rules prohibit attendance from players whose college classes haven't graduated. But DeCastro and Adams were given a playbook and video of the new offense under Todd Haley to better prepare them for minicamp.

"I was as well prepared as I could have been," DeCastro said.

The Steelers opened minicamp with Gilbert at left tackle, Willie Colon at left guard, Maurkice Pouncey at center, Ramon Foster at right guard and veteran Trai Essex at tackle. But coach Mike Tomlin could change the rotation today on the second day of minicamp, hinting that he could move up DeCastro and/or Adams to work with the first team.

"It will be a process," Tomlin said. "We're going to do things to put them in situations to see how they respond. I wouldn't read into it, particularly football in shorts. We're going to put them in situations against good people just for exposure and learn more about them. That's down the line when you start reading into what group they're taking snaps with. That's going to be more of a Latrobe type of thing."

Then Tomlin added, "I'm comfortable with where they are and what they were able to display today. They're working on limited time. They need to hurry up to catch up."

The Steelers admittedly are taking a chance on Adams, who grew up in Farrell but attended high school in Dublin, Ohio. His draft stock dropped after he tested positive for marijuana at the scouting combine and subsequently lied about it to NFL coaches and general managers.

But the Steelers took him in the second round after he met with Tomlin, president Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert in March -- a meeting at which he bared his soul and promised to do whatever necessary to convince them he is not an at-risk pick.

"I take things one day at a time," he said between two-a-day practices on the South Side. "If I do the right things, day in and day out, I think I will be in the right place."

And what is the right place?

"For me, win Super Bowls with this team," Adams said. "The personal goal I have is to be All-Pro a few times before I retire."

Last year, Gilbert started 15 games at right tackle after Colon tore his tricep tendon in the opener in Baltimore, ending his season. Gilbert, though, got off to a slow start in training camp because he reported overweight and didn't have the benefit of OTAs and minicamp because of the lockout.

"I didn't know anything," Gilbert said. "I came into training camp not knowing what's going on. I had a little help from Maurkice [Pouncey] because he was my friend, but I didn't get the whole understanding of the offense. I didn't get a playbook, I didn't get to work with the weight staff, I didn't get the feel of being around the guys till training camp. I didn't know who was willing to work with me."

Gilbert said he already could tell the difference in DeCastro and Adams.

"Coach was giving out a verbal test in meetings, and they were shooting out all the right answers. You could tell they were doing their studying. You could tell these guys wanted to come in and work and try to compete for a job."

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Old 06-13-2012, 01:07 AM   #34
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Default Re: Rookies DeCastro & Adams Look To Buck Steelers History By Both Starting Week 1

Kovacevic: Two rookies? Yeah, why not?

By Dejan Kovacevic
Published: Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Truth be told, by the Steelers’ first snap of the 2012 opener in Denver, there will be two rookies on the offensive line. Bet your Tunch & Wolf dual bobblehead on it.

David DeCastro will be at right guard.

Mike Adams will be at left tackle.

Too many signs point too strongly to Mike Tomlin starting both of his top draft picks right away to believe otherwise.

But bet on this, too: All concerned will be delighted to put on the predictable show of competition in the interim. Or, as Tomlin would describe it, “We wanted to put them in some uncomfortable situations and see how they respond.”

You could see it Tuesday morning with the coaches’ initial formations for the first day of minicamp on the sweltering South Side. Left to right, the line was Marcus Gilbert, Willie Colon, Maurkice Pouncey, Ramon Foster and Trai Essex. All vets.

The kids just watched, and not by accident.

“Everyone’s got to earn it,” Essex said.

You could see it with Adams’ first play. He planted his hand in the grass, raised his chin and met eyes with old Ohio State bud Cam Heyward. “Good to see a familiar face,” Adams recalled thinking. It wasn’t good for long. Heyward blew right by him, followed by line coach Sean Kugler blowing up that Adams then failed to finish the play.

“Think I messed that up,” Adams would lament later.

You could see it with DeCastro and Adams seated at their adjacent locker stalls afterward, well away from the linemen’s long-established cove in the far corner. Both held court with reporters, but both looked eager — no, desperate — for the sessions to end. Nothing brings barbs from the older guys quite like rookies surrounded by media.

Which probably explains this exchange …

Me: David, do you feel you’re prepared for this challenge?

DeCastro: “Yeah.”

Me: Would you consider it a great leap to go right from college to starting in the NFL?

DeCastro: “Yeah.”

Good thing that voice recorder was at full charge.

I kid, but the next thing I see wrong with this whole scenario will be the first.

Sure, Tomlin and Kevin Colbert got a gift when DeCastro stunningly plunged to No. 24 in the first round, but they still made the right call in securing two studs to protect Ben Roethlisberger. Not many investments matter if the franchise QB is lost.

I also like that management is open –—most likely leaning — toward bucking their own history with rookies.

Why not let the talent play?

This is nuts, but the Steelers of the Super Bowl era have had as many rookie offensive linemen start a season-opener as they’ve had head coaches: Chuck Noll had Tom Ricketts in 1989, Bill Cowher had Marvel Smith in 2000, and Tomlin, of course, fell for Pouncey at first sight two years ago.

Never in the franchise’s 80-year history has more than one rookie opened the season starting on the offensive line.

But times change, and it’s incumbent on even the staid Steelers to change with them.

According to a January study by the SB Nation web network, the NFL had 45 offensive linemen drafted in the top two rounds from 2008-11. Of those 45 picks, 33 started the majority of their teams’ games as rookies. Another eight had major injuries, leaving just four players as exceptions.

That’s a 90 percent starting rate from the rounds that produced DeCastro and Adams.

So why not these two?

Because they missed offseason workouts to comply with NFL rules for college seniors?

Tyron Smith, Dallas’ first-round left tackle in 2011, missed OTAs and minicamp and had to learn a new playbook, but he still started every game as a rookie and wound up grading as one of the NFL’s five best tackles.

DeCastro is in that class. He’s a baby Alan Faneca — even wearing the same No. 66 — in that he’s bullishly strong and athletic enough to pull. He’s also blessed with Stanford smarts. Monosyllabic answers aside, he just completed a degree in management, science and engineering that included a thesis on something called linear optimization.

Here’s guessing that was more challenging than those cyber-playbooks Todd Haley had been sending DeCastro and Adams.

Adams is different. And, to his credit, he seems to grasp that.

He’s a 6-foot-7, 323-pound tower of a man, probably visible across the Mon when he comes out of his stance. His talent is first-round caliber, too. But doubts will — and should — linger about his inexplicably ill-advised positive marijuana test on the eve of the NFL combine in February. Only his pursuit of a meeting with Tomlin and Colbert put him back on the Steelers’ draft board.

I asked Adams if he felt he had something to prove, and he came back loud and clear: “Yes, sir, I do. I think some people question me as a person and as a football player. But as long as I do what I’m told, I’ll be all right.’’

Both of them will be.


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