The Fightin' Steelers

Mike Prisuta marks the end of a fiesty training camp with his unique perspective:

LATROBE – The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club.

But when it comes to Steelers fighting Steelers, and it came to that often at St. Vincent College, the subject is compelling enough that it demands conversation and explanation. Fortunately, at times such as these, there is wide receivers coach Scottie Montgomery.

"I'm more concerned with the guys that don't compete at that level than I am about No. 24 or No. 84," Montgomery said of the repeated battles between Ike Taylor and Antonio Brown this summer.

"From a competing standpoint, that's what you're huntin' from two leaders on your team. From just being smart and us not condoning it or anything like that and let's just play good football, that's what we need to get closer to doing."

The risk in such instances clearly isn't worth the reward, and that goes for Cam Heyward engaging Maurkice Pouncey on Thursday as much as it does for Taylor and Brown. It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to figure that out.

Then again, the Steelers have a Rhodes Scholar on their preseason roster, but Myron Rolle probably isn't going to make the team.

See what we're getting at here?

Taylor and Brown have been reckless, but they've also been so competitive for so long that they're held in the highest regard by the coaching staff.

Their competition has been obvious at SVC, not just when they've been throwing punches around but also as they've been going against one another daily in 11-on-11 play and in defensive back-wide receiver drills.

That stuff has been absolutely fascinating to watch and the Steelers would like to see a whole lot more of it.

"One of the things you can't coach is competitive nature," Montgomery continued. "I wish I could take some of his blood and put it into some other players in our room and on the team, from either one of those guys, No. 24 or No. 84. That is big-time competing."

Now you know why Mike Tomlin barked the way he did at a legitimate follow-up question to what can or should be done about the way Taylor and Brown have expressed their competitive natures.

The short answer there is you hope they don't break a hand or an orbital bone, and you hope that some of those players Montgomery referenced as would-be blood transfusion candidates have been paying attention.

Montgomery confirmed Tyler Beiler and David Gilreath are players who have been doing a "really good job of closing the gap" at the wide receiver position of late, of competing the way the Steelers need them to compete.

"I think those guys have kind of distinguished themselves over the last three weeks as guys that are going in the right direction, guys that are competing at a high level, guys that are coming to work every day with a hard hat, being able to take how hard I coach and then go out there on the field and, if they make a mistake, make one 100 miles an hour," Montgomery said.

The rest of the wide receivers either haven't been consistent enough from a competitive standpoint, haven't had a chance to show how they can compete at the appropriate level in a preseason game, or both.

And there are other positions where the position coach is seeing what Montgomery has been seeing. For their sake and the Steelers', you'd hope those below the line have seen the light by now.

And that they go all Ike Taylor or Antonio Brown on the Indianapolis Colts.


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