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Steelers, Packers tinker with technology in practice


Two of the NFL's most traditional teams are getting technological.

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First we start in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers are one of 33 NFL and NCAA teams to use Schutt Vision helmets. The full-contact helmets are embedded with HD video cameras that allow coaches to review what the players see during practices.

"This time of year, I think it's appropriate to be open to the growth of technology in our game," coach Mike Tomlin told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "So I'll do things such as that and look at innovative things and see if it can be useful to us."

Of course, Tomlin also admitted twice that the film "gave me a headache."

The Steelers have been using the helmet cam with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, which could help with identifying fronts and coverages. At the very least, the helmet camera would help the coaches view the action from the quarterback's perspective.

For quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner, the technology eventually might help the Steelers' backup signal-callers just as much as Big Ben.

"You would like to think that if you see something from his eye level that it could potentially give every other quarterback who wasn't getting that rep a chance to view that," Fichtner said. "We really haven't taken it to that next level yet. It's new technology, so sometimes it's tough to grasp right away."

Next we travel to Green Bay, where the Packers are using a GPS system that they hope will help reduce injuries, per the Green Bay Press-Gazette.

The Packers have imported GPS technology from Catapult Sports -- an Australian company that introduced GPS technology for monitoring athletes in the early 2000s -- to help keep track of their players' workload during practices.

The team hopes the information provided by the GPS system can yield some insight into how to tailor workout regiments to try to avoid injuries that have plagued players the past few seasons.

Technological tinkering by teams during the offseason isn't new, but with the pervasiveness of systems now available, we expect more franchises to utilize high-tech gadgets more and more to try to gain an edge.

In the latest episode of the "Around The League Podcast," the heroes discuss the winners and losers of minicamp season.


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