Benny Snell Football & The Transition To More Speed

Post-Gazette's Ray Fittipaldo leads us through rookie mini camp storylines

The Fan Morning Show
May 13, 2019 - 11:38 am

PITTSBURGH (93.7 The Fan)- It's football in shorts. But we love it. 

Late last week rookie mini camp started for the Steelers, giving us the first look at the 2019 draft class. 

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers writer Ray Fittipaldo joined The Fan Morning Show Monday to talk about what has stuck out to him so far from camp, including a self-proclaimed brand of football that is set to emerge. Or will it? 

Fourth-round running back Benny Snell referred to himself in the third person in describing "Benny Snell football" with reporters, but Ray says it didn't come across as self-indulging. 

"I hope it came across in the story I wrote over the weekend of just how different he seems to the guy Le'Veon Bell was when he left. Believe me, I don't have any issue with guys wanting to get their money but Bell had become hardened to the business side of the league. Here comes Benny Snell, he's just like eyes wide open and he's just happy to be here and it's just such a different contrast to what we had with the previous running back." 

Related: Bush Learning on Fly as Rookie Minicamp Begins

"I'm still not convinced that Benny Snell is going to walk in here and have this role that he's going to be their short yardage and goal line guy right off the bat. But, if the Steelers want to go that route, that's this guy's brand. He's known for getting those tough yards and as I noted in my story, the Steelers weren't exactly a great offense last year when they had to close out games or in short yardage situations. There's a role to be had if they want to go that route, I'm just not convinced the Steelers really want to change their offense all that much." 

Ray doesn't expect the Steelers to push Devin Bush into playing time and detailed how the roster make-up allows for the Steelers to develop him the way they want to.

"I know they used a #10 overall pick on Bush but they do have a veteran in Vince Williams, who's a good run stopper and a good blitzer. And they're paying Mark Barron $6 million a year so there's not going to be a rush to get Devin Bush into the lineup right away. I think they might bring him along slowly." 

"Eventually, once he proves he has everything down, he's going to be a starter at some point this year. I don't get the idea right off the bat, first day of OTA's or even the first day of training camp, that they're going to rush him into the starting lineup. They might, he might be that talented, but the depth chart is set up in a different way in 2019 than it was in 2014 [when Ryan Shazier was drafted and got significant playing time right away]." 

Ray says one storyline that sticks out in particular is the Steelers' attempt to add more speed to the defense. 

"Not only with Devin Bush but with Ulysees Gilbert, another inside linebacker that runs in the 4.4's (40 yard dash). Sutton Smith isn't a straight line speed guy, I think he was like a 4.69 40 guy but he had a great three-cone drill at the combine and he's really off the charts with his quickness and he was giving the rookie offensive lineman all sorts of trouble on Friday when I was watching." 

"Just adding a different element to that defense, more speed, more quickness, I think that's going to not only be a theme at OTA's next week but I think that's going to be a theme throughout the summer as well."    

You can hear the entire interview with Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Steelers writer Ray Fittipaldo on The Fan Morning Show, inlcuding his experience at the water balloon fight hosted by JuJu Smith-Schuster he attended on Saturday, in the audio below.                 

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