Steelers notebook: Less talk, more work is Tomlin's theme
Coach Mike Tomlin didn't need long to develop a theme for the Steelers' offseason workouts: “Less talk, more work” — reflecting all the player chatter that followed an 8-8 season.
“Coach is coming up with something for these OTAs,” cornerback Ike Taylor said Tuesday. “He is just making a point. I think people in general need to do that, whether you are a professional athlete or an everyday person.”
• Tomlin insisted there is nothing wrong with first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones, who could take over for James Harrison at outside linebacker. Jones reportedly hurt a hamstring during his pro day workouts, but the Steelers said he did not miss any of their three-day rookie camp work earlier this month. On Tuesday, Tomlin said, “He's capable of practicing.”
• Neither tight end Heath Miller nor inside linebacker Sean Spence, who are coming off knee injuries, is practicing. According to Tomlin, “Right now, they're on schedule” — although he did not disclose what that schedule is. Linebackers coach Keith Butler said last month that it would be a miracle if Spence played this season.
• Wide receiver Markus Wheaton, the third-round pick, will miss all 10 OTA (organized team activity) practices and the three minicamp days because NFL rules prohibit a player from practicing while classes are ongoing. Oregon State doesn't conclude finals until mid-June. There are two more OTAs this week, on Wednesday and Thursday.
• Taylor doesn't foresee a dropoff at cornerback with Cortez Allen replacing Keenan Lewis, who signed with the Saints. Taylor said, “If he stays healthy, he is going to be hell for a lot of people. He pretty much has everything you are looking for as a far as a cornerback, being a shutdown guy.”
• Almost a year since he signed a $42.5 million contract, Antonio Brown is the Steelers' No. 1 receiver now that Mike Wallace is with the Dolphins. Brown doesn't see a drop in the receivers' production. “We have all the pieces in place that we need, and we aren't going to focus on what anybody is talking about, what is not here,” Brown said.
• Former Steelers defensive back Chidi Iwuoma is the team's new BLESTO Scout, replacing Mike Butler, who recently was hired as a college scout. BLESTO is a multi-team scouting service the Steelers have belonged to for nearly a half-century. Iwuoma was an NFL cornerback for seven seasons and played on the Steelers' 2005 season Super Bowl-winning team.