3 Steelers who took their offseason training regime very seriously
Truthfully, there is no offseason for the committed professional athlete. There is always something to work on— physical fitness levels to be maintained, weaknesses to be strengthened, and injuries to rehabilitate, with or without surgery.
The modern day professional football player spends the offseason focusing on diet, strength training, flexibility, and fundamental improvements. At least the athletes professional enough to realize that the offseason break is the optimal time to hone one’s craft, and body.
This is where an individual’s work ethic is revealed. If you have ever wondered what sets 2021 NFL Defensive Player or the Year T.J. Watt apart from his peers, look no further than his offseason work ethic. Watt is a phenomenal athletic specimen in a profession full of them. His insatiable work ethic is the driving force behind his greatness.
Watt’s edge partner in crime, Alex Highsmith, is another great example. Highsmith’s work ethic is approaching legendary status. The young man has built himself from the ground up, from college walk-on to one of the best edge rushers in the NFL, not to mention one of the best compensated. All the byproduct of hard work paying off.
There are 3 returning Steelers that have already impressed me with their more than apparent dedication to their physiques this offseason. These individuals showed up to the first day of camp ripped and ready to rumble.
Dan Moore Jr.
Moore went into the offseason knowing his starting left tackle position was anything but secure. So he immediately went into survival mode, focusing on improving his body through diet and strength training.
He didn’t wait until the Steelers traded up in the first round to take his possible replacement in Broderick Jones to start self improvement. We know this because of the drastic change in Moore’s upper body development, something only a full offseason of focused diet and training could accomplish.
We also see a change in Moore’s competitive mindset, as he started working on the fundamentals necessary to make a switch to the right side, without being instructed by the coaches to do so. This reveals a proactive approach from a player determined to compete for a starting job, and make a positive impression on the coaches.
Determination requires dedication. Moore’s redefined upper body, especially his triceps, scream offseason dedication.
Robinson showed up at training camp looking like he has been training for a cross fit competition. He appears to have added 6 to 8 lbs of muscle to his already athletic and muscular frame, especially his upper body. At 5’11”, Robinson looks like he is at least 245 lbs, which is substantially up from his rookie season, when he was reportedly around 236 lbs.
I believe that the reasoning behind Robinson’s obvious commitment to strengthening his upper body is readily revealed in his limited rookie opportunities and productivity. Robinson displayed a natural feel for the position, showcasing admirable instincts in the process. However, his lack of experience was evident in his limited coverage opportunities, and in a handful of missed tackles.
Robinson lacks the ideal length needed to easily wrap up NFL ball carriers. On multiple occasions, he utilized his instincts and athleticism to get in good tackling positioning, but was unable to wrap up and bring down the runner. I vividly remember a couple of occasions when Browns running back Nick Chubb, a player blessed with outstanding contact balance, bounced out of Robinson’s grasp for additional yards after the catch.
Robinson recognized this weakness in his game, and spent the offseason focusing on his grip and functional strength which would explain his redefined upper body. I wholeheartedly believe that Robinson focused on this notable deficiency, just as much as his well documented inexperience in coverage. I expect to see substantial improvement in both areas.
Warren’s short and stocky physique lends itself to a myriad of nicknames and comparisons. Warren burst onto the scene like a shooting star during last year’s training camp. The undrafted rookie running back exceeded all expectations, eventually finishing second in the closest Isaac Redman Award voting in it’s history.
Warren was the dynamic RB2 that the Steelers have been missing for years. He is a violent runner, resembling a bowling ball with tree trucks for extremities similar to a young Barry Foster back in the day. Some fans started referring to Warren as the Muscle Hamster due to his unique dimensions. Warren utilized his powerful physique to it’s fullest last season, particularly in pass protection.
Some of the most entertaining and exciting moments of the Steelers 2022 season occurred when Warren was on blitz pickup. The vertically challenged Warren would almost disappear behind the tall timbers, only to re-emerge when the blitzing pass rusher sighted in his target. Oftentimes the blitzer never saw Warren until it was too late, after Warren had already decleated the unfortunate defender.
Warren is noticeably thicker this season, undoubtedly in anticipation of an increased workload in 2023. Based on last season’s production, that seems like a logical response.
Being perpetually prepared is a precursor of proven production. All 3 of these gentlemen put in the hard work necessary to improve this offseason. Now it’s time to for the Steelers to reap the benefits.
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