Connect with us

Steelers Analysis & Film Study

Steelers OTAs Takeaways: Patrick Peterson Mentors Joey Porter Jr.



Steelers OTAs Patrick Peterson

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers OTAs are done for the first week of the sessions. However, that does not mean we can not glean some effects that the team is experiencing at a higher level. What can be taken away from the first week of OTAs?

Linebackers Love Aaron Curry

One of the things I wanted to get a barometer on this season was how new inside linebackers coach Aaron Curry would be received by the team. With Brian Flores off Minnesota to become the defensive coordinator and the entire inside linebacker room being flipped, it makes sense that Curry is starting with an entirely blank slate.

Going over things with inside linebacker Cole Holcomb, he said the inside linebackers love the knowledge and fire that Curry brings to the game. It seems that is contagious with Elandon Roberts backing up many of the same sentiments. He is an intense person on the field and anyone who watches him coach can tell that. But it feels like the guys are gravitating around that.

“He’s a fiery and knowledgeable coach,” Holcomb said. “This dude loves football. It’s a guy who played it, did it, and as a younger coach, he’s very enthusiastic. We can all rally around that.”

Whenever we get deeper into the season, I’m interested to see how Curry reacts to the ups and downs of a season within his linebacker room. Since they are all almost entirely new players aside from Mark Robinson and Chapelle Russell, the team will have some growing pains in this unit.

Support for Alex Highsmith

One thing that became apparent around the locker room, no matter who you talked to around it, was the admiration and full support behind Alex Highsmith as he looks to get a contract. The Steelers seem destined to do right by Highsmith, but in the meantime, his teammates are pushing for him. Highsmith seems to be focused on working at this point with an optimistic point of view coming out of early negotiations.

T.J. Watt, who has gone through the process before, noted there seems to be a hunger that not many guys have at both this time of year and when going through a situation like that. Omar Khan has made it a point to say Highsmith will be a Steeler, and I fully expect that to happen. The optimism around the building around it might just be a showing of that.

Jaylen Warren’s Big Year

Coming off a strong rookie season, the expectations for RB2 Jaylen Warren are only going up. He looks jacked and ready to go from the jump. Warren says that he expects to become an even bigger part of the passing game in 2023. He looks like he is ready to take the next gear up in the workload with Najee Harris. I compared him to Doug Martin last year when I saw his running style. Now the physique matches up.

We’ll see how everything ends up working out throughout training camp, but with no true RB3 right now, Warren is set to handle all of the work that Harris does not handle. And trust me, these running backs are very excited about what some of the additions to the run blocking unit can bring to them. That includes Warren, and I would expect him to have a solid season.

Patrick Peterson the Mentor

Patrick Peterson is already stepping up into the mentor role. It seems easy for him, but all of the defensive backs are confiding in what Peterson brings to the table as a veteran. That includes young guys like Joey Porter Jr. and Cory Trice, who both said they actively seek out all the help they can get from Peterson. He is on board with that role fully and it was part of the reason Omar Khan wanted to bring him on the team.

“He’s a young guy that wants the knowledge, wants the information,” Peterson said of Porter Jr. “When you have a young guy like that, you just can’t help but to pour into them. I don’t know how many years I have left. He’s a rookie, at some point the torch is going to be passed to him. I just want to continue to help him find his way, find his resume.”

At Steelers OTAs, Peterson proved he would be up to that label. During his media sessions this week, he noted how much pride he took in that title. So, while he will obviously be a starter for the team as well, his off-field impact will be felt just as much as anything else.

Patience with Broderick Jones

Since he was drafted, I’ve talked with Broderick Jones only once, but it was at OTAs. There are a lot of technical things that Pat Meyer is working on with him right now to fix. Why is this all important? The Georgia product comes out of college as a fantastic athlete but a very raw player with his technique. That is fine, but I would caution against fans getting their hopes up early to see him suddenly become an elite player.

For any first-round pick that you move up for in the draft, I can understand the want for instant gratification. But it’s likely that Jones will experience hiccups and bumps along the way with all the new techniques he is learning this offseason. Much like Kenny Pickett last year, expect gradual improvement.

Click to comment
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Steelers Now in your Inbox

Sign up and get all of our posts sent directly to your inbox!

Thank you!