LATROBE (93-7 The Fan) – As a linebacker with the Steelers and later with the Dolphins and Cardinals, Joey Porter played with a passion that few could match.
Now, as a first-year defensive assistant with the Steelers—primarily working with the linebackers–Porter brings that same intensity to the practice field and meeting room. But as he told reporters on Tuesday, not every player has the same approach.
“Either you have that type of passion or you don’t,” he said.
Porter said he’s also learned that as a coach, his words don’t carry the same weight as when he was a player.
“I’m not in the fight with the players on the field and don’t have the opportunity to go out there and make a play to back up my words,” he said. “I can’t put the battery in their back to make them do anything special. They either have it or they don’t.”
Porter said he’s also trying to pass along the knowledge he learned in Dick Lebeau’s defense to help his pupils polish their game.
One thing he doesn’t like to do is assess players individually. He said it isn’t fair for him to judge them because his job is “low on the totem poll.”
He said it’s up to “legends,” such as Lebeau, (linebackers coach) Keith Butler and (assistant head coach) John Mitchell to do that.
According to Porter, it’s a different era, a different league, but the standard has been set for Steelers linebacker play. He said the players are good students and know, “what we expect out of them, what the City of Pittsburgh expects out of them.”
If there was star at today’s practice it was WR Martavis Bryant the fourth-round pick out of Clemson, who made two nice touchdown catches in the 11-on-11 Red Zone drill that concluded practice. Coach Mike Tomlin noticed, but only to a point.
“He made a few plays today, but we know he’s capable of that,“ said Tomlin, who is often loathe to praise rookies. “We need his detail to get to the point where we can trust him. He’s moving toward that (but) not at a quick enough pace for us and not for a quick enough pace for him. We’ll continue to work.”
Another featured period was no-huddle and the first, second and third-string offenses all came up empty after picking up one first down each. On 3rd-and-long, Ike Taylor jumped in front of a Ben Roethlisberger pass for what should have been a sure interception but, of course, it sailed through Taylor’s hands.
There were a few disagreements too.
Veteran WR Antonio Brown got into it with rookie CB Shaquille Richardson and finally cuffed Richardson upside the helmet. Later, OT Mike Adams and DL Cam Thomas got hot during a pass rush/pass block drill.
It was broken up in fairly short order. Then, David DeCastro stepped in when Adams looked like he was going after Thomas again, but it turned out Adams was simply going back to the line for his next turn.
We could see more of that in the next two days when the Buffalo Bills come to Latrobe for joint workouts.
Safety Mike Mitchell, who returned to practice Tuesday, says he remembers going up against the 49ers when he played in Oakland.
“Oh yeah, there were always a lot of fights with San Fran,” Mitchell said. “It’ll be interesting, but we just have to be professional and keep it under control, but it should be more intense than the usual practices.”
You May Also Be Interested In These Stories From The Fan
Like The Fan On Facebook
Follow The Fan On Twitter