Justin Layne has made an early impression with the Steelers.
After making a splash during OTAs, Layne once again flashed his hands during Day 1 of Steelers minicamp, picking off a pass from Devlin Hodges late in the day's session.
But don't think Layne is content with his play. The reality is far from it. He's actually quick to point out something else when asked about his early successes.
"I also made a lot of mistakes today," Layne fired back inside the locker room at the Rooney Complex when I brought up the topic. "But we're just doing ball drills every day. [Teryl Austin] got us getting our hands on the ball, getting as many touches as possible at practices. I think that's the main thing."
Right now, it's all about that balance for Layne. He understands he's an unproven rookie fighting for playing time. He's going to make mistakes. He is making mistakes. So now, he shifts his focus forward, always ready to pounce on the next opportunity rather than dwelling on past missteps.
"I'm at the level where we might give up a play, but we also gotta make plays at the same time," Layne was saying. "As a defensive back, you gotta have a short-term memory, so I kind of just get to the next play for the most part."
Earlier in OTAs, Layne mentioned the speed of the game at the pro level, saying he often found himself caught thinking about what should happen rather than acting on instincts and trusting his football skills. This led to him being a step behind on some plays, something he says is still happening — but not with the same frequency.
"In certain aspects, it might be slowing down a little bit," Layne said. "But I mean, there are still some things I'll be a little iffy on sometimes. So I'm just trying to learn and get better every day."
With minicamp officially here and training camp on the horizon, Layne knows his days are about to get more intense, more heated and more serious. It's a familiar feeling for him, and one he welcomes as he heads into 2019 as a Steeler.
"I can feel it," Layne said. "It's just like football every year. Training camp is a little bit tougher, a little bit more intensity, so I'm just getting ready for the most part."
MATT SUNDAY GALLERY
[caption id="attachment_840661" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Steelers mini-camp, Rooney Sports Complex, June 11, 2019 - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]