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Insider Only Steelers-Thursday: Tomlin on Steelers having a Dri Archer in many forms last several years & more buzz

Ryan Shazier’s “boo boo” which Mike Tomlin continues to call it, has limited him this week and he may miss the Steelers preseason opener for the Giants Saturday night. According to Tomlin, others who also might not play include Steve McLendon (concussion), Darrius Heyward-Bey (concussion), Jarvis Jones (groin), Jordan Zumwalt (groin), Rob Blanchflower (ankle)
When it comes to Zumwalt, sixth round pick, and Blanchflower, seventh round pick, missing a preseason game when you’ve barely practiced is devastating to late round picks. You can add Heyward-Bey to that group also who is on the outside looking in for a roster spot.
Tomlin won’t let lack of practice time this week dictate whether the above mentioned players play or not. If they’re healthy, they will place.

Sean Spence has been the beneficiary this week with Ryan Shazier limited, receiving first team reps over the last couple practices. Spence has showed a lot of flashes in camp of what made him a third round pick in 2012. He has been right up there with Vince Williams in throwing some punishing hits.
Saturday night will be another step in the right direction for Spence who for now appears to be one of the seven locks to make the team at the linebacker position.
“I think I’ve been pretty consistent that I said I wouldn’t be surprised if he has a full recovery,” Tomlin said. “I just know the type of young man that he is, the type of worker that he is and those things usually work out for those guys. I think if you look back at my statements regarding him and his situation I’ve been pretty consistent. We’re going to use all four preseason games to evaluate him and everyone else.”

Jason Worilds has showed up to camp more powerful and faster than he’s ever looked, and playing on a one year contract, he looks primed for a big season with the key being, him staying healthy. “He has taken a business-like approach to it,” Tomlin said. “He is really thoughtful in his preparation. His technique is highly skilled, his hand usage has been good. He is no nonsense. He’s not a very vocal guy, that is Jason…. I think his work has been really solid.”
How dominant and powerful Worilds looks in practices, has reminded some observers of how LaMarr Woodley would look during his healthy and prime years.

Rookie Dri Archer has been a camp sensation when the ball is in his hands but it’s much harder to get those type of players in space when it’s a game not a practice situation.
Tomlin downplayed Archer being a new type of player they haven’t had in the past.
“We’ve had Dri in many forms over the years to be honest with you,” Tomlin said. “In 2010 it was Antonio Brown…Stefan Logan….There was Chris Rainey. Sometimes they’re wideouts, sometimes running backs. Bottom line, they’re space players who we try to get the football in their hands too. Now obviously some have grown into other things like Antonio Brown who is an all-pro receiver. But, we’ve had Dri Archer in many forms last several years. We’ll see what he develops into.”

Two keys for Justin Brown since OTA’s has not only been earning the trust of the coaching staff but also quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It has him in a situation where a roster spot is now his to lose.
Tomlin was asked about any particular players who have impressed him or surprised him and he danced around the subject before only naming Justin Brown, saying he was doing the things he’s doing now in the spring.
“You can talk about growth and development of a Justin Brown but he was doing those things in the spring,” Tomlin said.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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