Steelers Friday Training Camp Practice Notes
By Alex Kozora
Some notes from what I saw Friday at Pittsburgh Steelers training camp today. Tomorrow is the team’s last day at Saint Vincent College.
– In warmups before practice officially got underway, Shaun Suisham was good from 47 and ½ and from 54.
– Isaac Redman did not hit the field until roughly 25 minutes after practice began. He did some individual work but did not participate in team drills.
– Le’Veon Bell got work in the first half of practice but sat out the second half.
– One of the coaches told Joe Madsen to get lower in a warmup agility drill.
– Newly signed wide receiver Tyler Shaw will wear #10.
– Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, Jerricho Cotchery, Markus Wheaton, and Justin Brown were working with Ben and Gradkowski.
– Derek Moye, Kashif Moore, David Gilreath, Tyler Shaw, and J.D. Woods were working with Jones and Wilson. Shows the separation between the two groups though the only notable was Brown working with the first unit. Pencil him in as the #5.
– In a TE vs LB drill, Nathan Overbay was getting overextended. Needs to bring his lower half.
– Jonathan Dwyer was the first team running back in the first 11 on 11 drills.
– Throughout the day, Jarvis Jones was working with the one’s.
– Josh Victorian the #3 CB.
– In what has become one of the more popular events at camp, Ben was the only quarterback to throw a pass into a garbage can, erupting cheers from the crowd. His next pass was “accidentally” sailed into the stands, complete to a little kid.
– Terry Hawthorne participated in team drills after working just individually earlier in the week.
– Al Woods continues to run as the second team nose tackle and saw a few first team reps at end. It’s fairly obvious the team loves him. Expect him to play more than the 32 defensive snaps he got last season.
– Reggie Dunn, Antonio Brown, and Shaw were getting reps at punt returners.
– Brian Moorman’s punt from the opposing 40 was downed by Curtis Brown at the one.
– Some hangtimes from Moorman and Drew Butler.
Moorman: 5.29 (a rogue wasp preventing me from hitting my stopwatch in time for another)
Drew Butler: 4.58 (traveling nearly 60 yards, easily the best of the day) 3.12, 4.75
– Seemed Curtis Brown was getting first team reps at gunner though it should be noted gunners and jammers were constantly being rotated. He also saw nickel duty with the second team defense.
– On the first play of the next 11 on 11 drill, Dwyer was split out wide.
– As with any Tomlin-coached team, the backup lineman were flip flopped throughout practice. Some of the different combinations that I saw. From L-R.
D’Anthony Batiste, John Malecki, Kelvin Beachum, Guy Whimper, Joe Long
Long, Malecki, Beachum, Whimper, Mike Farrell
Long, Malecki, Beachum, Whimper, Batiste
And what would be considered the “third team” line.
Batiste, Chris Hubbard, Joe Madsen, Mike Golic Jr. , Mike Farrell
The conclusions we are able to make is Hubbard has fallen out of favor with the second team following Whimper’s move to guard. That has seemed to bump up Joe Long’s snaps at tackle. Considering he was the third team tackle against the Giants, that is a good thing if he wants to try and crack a roster spot. Madsen and Golic are struggling to any playing time and don’t’ look like good bets to make the team.
– Roethlisberger rested the second half of the drill with Gradkowski getting first team reps. Just sounds like rest for Big Ben.
– Play-by-play from the start of a period with the offense having to work near its goalline.
1. Will Johnson barely got out of the end zone.
2. Playaction and Gradkowski hit Sanders on a ten yard out.
3 (from the 5). Checkdown again to Sanders.
4. Halfback dive that went nowhere.
5. Baron Batch with a tough run for a gain of a few yards.
6. Low snap but complete to Antonio Brown on a drag.
– Marshall McFadden and Brian Rolle were working at second team inside linebacker. Other second teamers included Chris Carter and Adrian Robinson at OLB, Brian Arnfelt at DE, and Victorian and Brown at CB.
– I can’t say for certainty but am almost positive that one on rep, Gilbert was at RG with Beachum at RT.
– Kion Wilson and Vince Williams your third team backers. Still no signs of Sylvester Stevenson practicing. Did not see him out there today as he recovers from an ankle sprain.
– Hebron Fangupo was getting reps ahead of Alameda Ta’amu. Didn’t catch much of big number 74 at all today, just a few reps here and there. Maybe I missed some but it’s something to watch for.
– Newly signed RB Jeremy Wright will wear #37.
– Special teams coach Danny Smith is extremely energetic and vocal. It was like today was the Super Bowl.
– Dunn, Moore, and Hawthorne getting reps at kick returns.
– Defensive end Nick Williams got destroyed by Joe Long in one on one drills. Long put him to the ground three straight times.
– Kelvin Beachum also had his hands full with Fangupo.
– To close out the day, a play-by-play from the red zone drill.
1. 1st team offense vs 1st team defense. Gradkowski’s corner route to Brown was intercepted by Ike Taylor (seriously). Go play the Powerball tomorrow.
2. 1st vs 1st (Al Woods at NT on this play). Dumpoff from Gradkowski to Sanders.
3. 1st vs 1st. Handoff to Dwyer, wrapped up by Lawrence Timmons (there was some tackling today but not in this drill. Just wrap up, not taking anybody to the ground)
4. 1st vs 2nd team defense (Fangupo working ahead of Ta’amu). Good coverage on the play. Gradkowski forced to hit Sanders on the curl. Looked like a smash route with Paulson and Sanders (corner + curl) that was well defended.
5. 1st vs 2nd. Draw to Baron Batch.
6. 1st vs 2nd. Back shoulder throw to Sanders that was low and hit the ground.
7. 2nd team offense vs 3rd (Jones ahead of Parker Wilson). Offensive line breaks down, Jones dumps it off to Overbay.
8. 2nd vs 3rd. Quick out complete to Wheaton.
9. 2nd vs 1st. Good coverage. Jones pass is too tall for Kashif Moore.
10. 2nd vs 1st. Draw to Jeremy Wright for a short gain.
11. 2nd vs 1st. Troy comes in free on a blitz, Jones is forced to throw it away.
– That means that John Parker Wilson did not take any reps in this period. Couple that with Jones working ahead of JPW in Saturday’s game and it’s unlikely Wilson makes the team.