I love reading about the HungerLATROBE - Rookie outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley had pretty much been having his way with whomever attempted to block him one-on-one thus far here at Saint Vincent College ... until Thursday.
That was when second-year tackle Willie Colon showed the rookie a few tricks of the trade. Colon pancaked the rookie on their first matchup in a one-on-one blocking drill, then stood him straight up in the air on his second attempt, giving him a couple of punches in the chest just for good measure.
It's no wonder the Steelers coaching staff is looking for a place to play Colon, a fourth-round pick in last year's draft. He's been one of the more impressive performers in camp thus far and is trying to push his way into the starting lineup just like he pushed Woodley around Thursday.
First up in Colon's sights is right tackle Max Starks, whom Colon has been lining up behind at camp after working during the offseason at center and right guard.
Starks, a two-year starter who is in a contract year, says he's not feeling the pressure - though he did drop a good deal of weight while working out in Arizona in preparation for this camp.
"Every year I go out there for five weeks," said Starks. "It's just me just getting myself focused and ready for the season. I really wasn't thinking about Willie. I know he's trying to fight for a position on our line. For me, it was just to go out there and practice what I do best and try and get better, hone my skills."
Colon, who started the final two games of last season at right tackle when Starks was out with a knee injury, says he also took his training to a new level, losing 15 to 20 pounds to get ready for the battle.
"I worked a lot harder," Colon said. "Max Starks is a great veteran. He's established himself. He's big, he's strong. I just want to be able to beat him out. It's going to be a dogfight. I love Max and he knows how the job's going to be."
Even if Colon doesn't beat out Starks, the Steelers may decide to play him somewhere else on their offensive line. Not only is Starks scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season, right guard Kendall Simmons is as well. The team would love for Colon to push one of those two aside sooner rather than later.
Colon feels he's one of the team's best five linemen.
"Yeah, I do, honestly," he said . "I've been working hard, dropping the weight, concentrating on a lot of little things that will make me better. We'll see. Competition is what the NFL's all about."
Starks, meanwhile, isn't going down without a fight. That's especially true since he's playing for his next contract, either with the Steelers or some other team.
"This is my last year," Starks said. "Of course we always play for extensions, but if it's something management feels is necessary than we'll approach a contract, but this year I'm just trying to help my team be the best and hopefully make it out to (the Super Bowl)."