Mason Cole understands the value in the Steelers going away for camp
In today’s NFL the reality is while most teams used to travel away from their home facility for training camp, very few leave the comforts of home anymore. The Pittsburgh Steelers are one of those teams who still make the trek out of Pittsburgh for their annual training camp, and while many outsiders might view this as not necessary, those who are there see value in being away from home.
“That’s why we come here,” center Mason Cole said regarding the bonding which happens at Saint Vincent College. “Coach (Mike) Tomlin talks about the camaraderie. It’s why we come here. You get these opportunities to be up here for three and a half weeks, away from your family, which stinks a little bit. To be close with the guys and spend this off the field time with each other after meetings, it’s fun. Whether we’re playing cards or eating dinner, it’s good to be around the guys and it’s tough to get that anywhere else.”
Getting away from things and bonding isn’t the only benefit for the Steelers, but especially the offensive line. This past offseason new additions in Broderick Jones, Nate Herbig and Isaac Seumalo have the position group in a state of flux. Cole realizes the importance of the men up front being dominant, and it all starts in Latrobe.
“I think we’ve got to lean on us in our room,” said Cole. “The front office and the coaching staff did a really good job building our room. They put a lot of trust in us and lean on us. We’ve got to embrace that and help this offense take over.”
On top of the offensive line’s need to gel, Cole also was very happy to have a full offseason with Kenny Pickett as the starting quarterback. Go back one year ago and the Steelers were a team with their quarterback position in flux. Now, Pickett has solidified himself as the starter.
“It’s been awesome, and it’s been good to have a full offseason with Kenny, just doing some of the stuff off the field,” said Cole. “It’s fun. It’s fun to get away from the game a little bit. The six months we spend in season are such a grind and such long hours. It’s fun to hang out with these guys outside of football, go to basketball games, concerts, whatever it might be. It’s just fun to be a regular human sometimes.”
But has Pickett changed at all? In any way?
“I think you see the same guy,” said Cole. “I think his leadership will be even better, his command will be better. It was good last year, but I think they’ll take the next step. He’ll make the throws he’s got to make and make the tough throws. There will be ups and downs. There always is. And I think he’ll handle that really well.”
For Cole and the offense, he’s spot on when he says there will be ups and downs. No one is expecting perfection from the start, but the ability to continually take steps forward will be the key between the Steelers living up to their potential, or falling short.