Ryan Shazier believes the Steelers have what it takes to win it all.
Ryan Shazier leaned back on his locker chair and checked his phone a few times. He then looked at teammates Artie Burns and Martavis Bryant, and started talking about the Pittsburgh Penguins Stanley Cup victory parade that he saw a few video clips of, and the three of them started talking about what it would be like.
As far as Shazier is concerned, it could be more of a reality than not that the Steelers have a similar type of parade a little over seven months from now.
“It definitely gives you motivation,” said Shazier. “Those guys have back-to-back championships, so it gives you more motivation. I was already motivated and know where we need to go and what we need to do. I feel like this is a Super Bowl caliber team. We just have to stay focused and everybody has to do what is required every game.”
The Steelers came close last year, losing to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Shazier said he feels like the team can take that final step this year, and the reason why is his teammates and what they all bring to the table.
“You see how guys are more mature than they used to be,” said Shazier. “I see some of that maturity from the younger guys, especially T.J. (Watt). He has been paying a lot of attention and learning, and grasping the concept of everything we are trying to do. That is going to help us a lot.
“The athletic ability of guys we have here is incredible. And we have great leaders who can lead the way who have been to championship before.”
When it comes to leaders, Shazier is moving into that type of role. In his fourth season the former No. 1 draft pick is a guy younger players can lean on and learn from.
“It’s exciting,” said Shazier. “I knew eventually it was going to happen. I just had to make sure I worked my way into it and earned the responsibility and kept playing like myself.
“I just have to make sure I am focused every day, every week, and understand guys are depending on me so I should be ready no matter what the circumstance.”
Ready to hit: Another day of ‘football in shorts,’ has Bud Dupree looking forward to training camp at Saint Vincent College when the hitting will finally begin.
“You are always ready for the hitting because it means football is right around the corner,” said Dupree. “Training camp is meant to be miserable, it’s not meant to be fun. You just have keep that in mind and be ready for it.”
The Steelers will hold their last minicamp practice on Thursday, the end of the offseason program. But it’s not the end of the work. When Dupree and his teammates leave the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for a little over a month until the start of training camp, the work will continue.
“The goal for us after this is to come into training camp in great condition, know the plays ahead, and just the small things to be ready to be physical,” said Dupree. “We made a lot of progress this offseason. We just have to continue it.”
They said it:
Artie Burns on the potential of the team for 2017: “We can do whatever we want to. We have the talent around here in the locker room, we have great coaches upstairs. Whatever we want to do, we can do. We just have to go out there and do it.”