PITTSBURGH — His teammates are impressed and electrified by what he’s shown but Steelers tight end Darnell Washington is a harsh grader on his own work. While the gigantic 6-foot-7 tight end had a fantastic week at minicamp, he only gave his week a modest grade.
For Washington, his route running is inconsistent. And while the pads are not on and he can’t highlight his strength from his blocking, but he still believes he’s got a lot of improvements to make. That includes to his receiving ability and route running right out of the gate.
“I’d only give my performance a B- or C at best,” Washington said. “My route running was a little inconsistent. We don’t have pads on so I don’t feel like I could show my blocking but I have things to work on there. There’s a lot of things I still want to work on.”
But the guys throwing to Washington in the Steelers locker room are incredibly impressed, Mitch Trubisky has thrown a few touchdowns to him, and Washington is looking to make a big time impact on the team. If he continues to impress his fellow offensive players and quarterbacks, there’s a good chance he could do just that.
“You can see him really making some plays,” Trubisky said. “He’s a big target, can run a lot of routes for his size, and as a quarterback you love knowing you have a mismatch guy like that. He’ll learn the playbook and other things like that but he’s really looked good.”
Cory Trice has learned a lot from covering him during Steelers minicamp. The big cornerback has faced a unique challenges, and not one that he often experienced by covering Washington. And as those two grow together, they are helping one another improve.
”Man, I relish the opportunity to go up against any of those guys out there,” Trice said. “But he’s a huge guy. That guy can move and he’s strong. At the end of the day, going up against him is great work.”
Washington’s week showcased a consistent level of improvement over the weeks. He is starting to get comfortable with the playbook and some of that is really starting to show through. Washington can really start to pop wants to the pads come on and he can really flex his blocking skills.