Q&A: Sean Morey

PITTSBURGH -- Sean Morey is a special teams standout who knows he needs to improve as a receiver to make the team. So after every practice -- even after special-teams school -- Morey stays late to work on his ... holding skills?


Why are you working on placement holding? Is that new?

The more you can do. And, yes, it's new for me, but I've held in high school and a little bit in college.

Do teams treat special teams with the respect it deserves at cut-down time?

No. I don't think so. If you look around the league, if you're not a competent player, if you can't contribute in some respect on offense or defense, then it's really tough for a team to justify keeping you just for special teams. There are teams that not only value special-teams players but find that it's one of the three main phases. You can win or lose games on special teams, so it is very important for a team to have a solid core of special-teams players so they can win the battle of field position, especially in the playoffs.

When a team becomes a legitimate championship contender, as the Eagles were last year and the Steelers are this year, is it tougher to make the roster as a special-teamer?

Yeah, because it's more competitive. It's harder to make that kind of team based solely on special teams because there are so many quality athletes that play special teams. They have draft picks who aren't going to play right away, but are athletic enough and strong enough and fast enough and willing enough to play special teams. So it gets competitive. The more quality players you have, especially at the skill positions, the more competitive it is. And sometimes you're not even competing with a guy at the same position. Sometimes you're competing with a guy that plays defense.

But shouldn't those kinds of teams forget about prospects and take niche players who can help them win a game, a playoff game, now?

I think if a team is on the cusp of winning a championship, I think they have to - well, not have to - but I think the better teams consider special-teams players invaluable to their core, especially if they're impact players.

How do you feel about your situation coming into camp?

My job's been real simple over the years. I just try to get better every day. I try to be as good as I can as a receiver, be as competent as I can in case they need me, and just be as competitive as I can to push the guys ahead of me. If I win a spot, that's what I'm shooting for. I'm playing to be a starter. That's what I'm shooting for. I'm trying to study and play and practice so that I can be a starter. You never know what's going to happen in this league. You really never know, and I've said that to my teammates, friends and guys who think they're going to get cut in camp. Things can change in an instant and they can make the team. So for me, my job is to show up as well-conditioned as I can be, do the right thing, compete and play hard. That's what I've done every year, and I've been able to watch players and take my game to another level every year. I've been able to improve and get faster, stronger and a little smarter. So I feel like I'm playing smarter, practicing smarter and I feel like I'm getting better. And then on special teams I just cut it loose. I've played with a lot of good players that way too: Larry Izzo, Larry Whigham, Ike Reese, some of the most dominant players on special teams in the league, and I've got notes on every one of them. I've picked their brains at every chance I've had. So I've learned enough at every position to understand schemes and try to play smart, but then just cut it loose and play reckless within the scheme. So I feel good about my situation. I know nothing's ever for sure. Last year I went into camp and was playing really well. I had a good camp. I felt I played really well, even against my competition. And when it came down to cut time, in the 11th hour, they chose to cut me because I think they felt some of the other receivers might've been picked up faster, and they had injuries at D-line and linebacker. They couldn't afford to keep six guys at wide receiver. That's what I mean. You could be a sixth receiver who's active as a fifth because you play special teams, but if they can't keep six roster spots you don't make it. When I left and thanked the coaches, they told me I'd be back in a week or two. They didn't expect me to get picked up. Fortunately I came here and I love it.

Seems like the word's out now and if you get cut you'll be picked up quickly, don't you think?

You'd like to think that, but to be quite honest with you I'd like to keep the job here. I think I relate well with the coaches here. Most of the coaches here are former players. It's a dream come true to be able to be coached by guys who know the game and played the game so well. I've had that in other places but I just feel like it's a better fit here. I'm really happy where I'm at and I feel this is the team I'm going to be with.

Can this team do it?

I have no question in my mind.

How about your receiving? Has that improved? Are you buidling any type of rapport with Ben?

Of course there's a rapport building. I've had more reps with him and I feel like I've improved as a receiver, mostly because I understand the offense a little bit better, the shifts, the formations, what other guys do. I mean, I knew my job last year but I came in when training camp was done so they really didn't expect me to know anything. I knew one spot and knew it well, so I could come in and play if I had to. This year, I'm hoping to help the team however I can, but I would love to be in a position where I can catch some balls and be a little more of an impact on offense. Last year Ben did throw me one. It was the first catch of my career, so it took me six years to get a catch. Hopefully this year I'll make up for all the lost time I had.

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