The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't relied on throwing the longball much in the past, but it seems Ben Roethlisberger might be airing it out a bit more this season. Pittsburgh began their OTAs this week and, after a reporter noticed that the Steelers seemed to be throwing further down the field, Roethlisberger was secretive with his answer.
"I don't know," said a coy Roethlisberger. "We are going to have to wait to see what happening in game one. I don't want to unveil any secrets yet."
It's a bit odd that the Steelers might plan to throw further now that Roethlisberger lost his fastest receiver in Mike Wallace, but our friends at Behind the Steel Curtain view the OTA deep-passing preview as a welcome one.
It's enticing to think about designed deeper passing with the speed they have in Markus Wheaton, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders in a three-wide receiver formation. While none of them have the blazing speed of departed WR MIke Wallace, the ability all of them possess with inside route running can set up double-moves aimed to get the ball deep and exploit softer coverage on any of them.
Geno Smith isn't slated to start in front of Mark Sanchez, but that apparently hasn't stopped the New York Jets from experimenting with finding more ways to get the rookie quarterback on the field. The most likely option seems to be that Smith will be a more successful version of Tebow in the read-option game.
"I know what everybody's thinking if we did that - didn't we try that last year?" Ryan said. "I think certainly that's a possibility. To probably make assumptions now probably isn't the thing to do but we'll let this thing work out and pan out and we'll see."
Our friends at Gang Green Nation believe that this will be good for the Jets, but it could be even better if Smith is the starting quarterback, so it adds to the element of surprise.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have had quarterback problems for quite awhile and, although it seems as though Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne will be the starter, there are quite a few other options waiting in the wings. Surprisingly, it seems as though the team could bring three additional options to training camp, not counting the aforementioned starting candidates.
Big Cat Country brings news that Matt Scott, Jordan Rodgers and Mike Kafka could all be invited to training camp after proving their abilities as roster-worthy quarterbacks early on in mini-camps and OTAs.
The Buffalo Bills took Tavaris Jackson out of the competition for their starting quarterback when they released him earlier this week. That leaves Kevin Kolb and rookie E.J. Manuel as the two candidates to start the season under center. Buffalo Rumblings breaks down the snap counts early on in the OTAs.
For the mathematically disinclined: Kolb is getting roughly half of the reps early in this minicamp, Manuel is getting a healthy 40 percent, and Jeff Tuel is taking the leftovers. That's a significant departure from when Jackson was still on the roster, when he and Kolb split a large chunk of reps and Manuel was left as an also-ran in many cases. Now, the rookie is getting much more practice time, while still riding second in the pecking order behind Kolb.
It'll be interesting to keep an eye on that battle, as it seems as though Manuel is increasing his popularity.
Ed Valentine of Big Blue View has been attending the Giants' OTAs and, unfortunately, the big news has been the scuffles that have surrounded practices rather than practices themselves.
It appeared that offensive lineman Bryant Browning was involved in both scuffles. tangling first with rookie defensive end Damontre Moore and then with cornerback Charles James. After the second scuffle, which saw both players hit the ground, head coach Tom Coughlin screamed at his players to simply "execute the play."
The fisticuffs seemed extremely unusual for a no-contact practice held without pads or shells. Coughlin said after practice that "there's no place for that."
A pair of fights in a non-contact practice seems odd, but tempers are likely flaring as players vie to improve their stock heading into training camp.