Recapping The Steelers First Three Days Of Training Camp

By Alex Kozora

Before we dive into the Pittsburgh Steelers fourth practice of training camp, here is a recap of my thoughts on the first three days.

– Putting a bow on the 11 on 11 session from Monday, I compiled the numbers and here are the totals. Sixty snaps of 11 on 11 broken up into four periods, 15 in each installment. First and fourth were almost completely dedicated to the run while the second and third featured mainly passes. Another reason why the defense has an advantage and looks good. They have a better idea of what the offense plans on doing.

Statistics from the quarterbacks. I do want to caution that I don’t have numbers for every single snap. There are a handful of plays where I didn’t have the quarterback listed. Those were obviously left out.

Ben Roethlisberger: 6/12 1 INT 1 “sack”
Bruce Gradkowski: 1/6 1 INT
Landry Jones: 4/7
Brendon Kay: 1/2

Number of carries each running back received.

Tauren Poole: 7
Jordan Hall: 7
Dri Archer: 5
LeGarrette Blount: 3
Miguel Maysonet: 3

And receptions by the following receivers.

Antonio Brown: 3
Justin Brown: 2
Michael Palmer: 2
Dri Archer:1
Danny Coale: 1
Will Johnson: 1
Kashif Moore: 1
Derek Moye: 1
Tauren Poole: 1
Matt Spaeth: 1
Eric Waters: 1
Markus Wheaton: 1

To round things out, targets. Like quarterbacks, there are one or two plays where I don’t have a receiver listed in my notes and there was one play on Monday where it wasn’t clear where the pass was going. Due to that, the numbers are not 100% complete and they will not necessarily match up with the quarterback’s attempts.

Antonio Brown: 5
Dri Archer: 3
Michael Palmer: 3
Justin Brown: 2
Derek Moye: 2
Martavis Bryant: 1
LeGarrette Blount: 1
Danny Coale: 1
Will Johnson: 1
Miguel Maysonet: 1
Heath Miller: 1
Kashif Moore: 1
Lance Moore: 1
Tauren Poole: 1
Lanear Sampson: 1
Matt Spaeth: 1
Eric Waters: 1
Markus Wheaton: 1

We’ll keep the totals going throughout camp.

I’ll refer to the players in the next section ones who have impressed so far and the ones who disappointed rather than winners or losers. Way too early to say a player has won or lost. We’ll know those guys in a month from now.

Impressive

A pair of second year wide receivers, Markus Wheaton and Justin Brown. Wheaton has already shown body control and the ability to separate, beating William Gay for a long catch down the left sideline on Sunday while Brown arguably had the best Saturday out of anybody on the roster. Brown is still running as the clear No. 4, and he’s carried the momentum he had in the spring to St. Vincent.

He was quiet the first two days but Jarvis Jones had a strong practice Monday. Took Kelvin Beachum to school in one-on-one drills and made a splash play in 11 on 11. Appears to be stronger with a more impactful punch. In my mind, still a tall mountain to climb, but this was a positive step.

Wesley Johnson is the lone offensive lineman to have lined up at three different spots in training camp. Third team center Saturday, second team left guard Sunday, and third team left tackle Monday (as well as running second team left guard). I haven’t seen anything particularly impressive with his game, but his versatility could be a deciding factor when it comes down to final cuts. Especially if the Steelers decide to keep only eight of the big uglies.

You could argue Tauren Poole had the most successful day as a runner on Monday, although Blount got few carries and still managed to bust off one nice run. But Poole can make defenders miss and doesn’t go down easily. As it stands now, at worst, he’ll make the practice squad and has a shot at cracking the 53. Teams prefer to choose in-house than scour the waiver wire.

There have been a number of rookies that have made their presence felt on Chuck Noll Field. Stephon Tuitt whoput together a few positive plays Monday, has been used on advanced concepts (stunting, playing with his hand up) while getting reps in the first team nickel as the right end. Shaquille Richardson provided a splash play, picking off Bruce Gradkowski. In addition to Johnson, Daniel McCullers has started camp as the second team nose tackle over Hebron Fangupo. At moments, he’s flashed the upside he has. Length, strength, and an improved first step.

Disappointments

No one has been more disappointing than Darrius Heyward-Bey and it isn’t up for much debate. He’s been running as the sixth or seventh wide receiver with the camp bodies. I originally thought he had a good chance to stick and provide the Steelers with veteran depth but so far, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

Landy Jones is in a difficult spot. He’s working mostly with inexperienced players that are clawing to make the roster. Although the stats will show a 4/7 line, his passes tended to sail. Derek Moye’s height was Jones’ saving grace on one throw. He underthrew his one vertical shot and scrambled too often. This tells me he probably isn’t going through his progressions as well as he should.

You sometimes forget Miguel Maysonet is even on this roster. Isn’t getting many reps. Worse yet, he’s not making his mark when he does get a spare carry. The latter can be said for Jordan Hall. He’s getting work as a runner and returner, but I’ve yet to see even one decent run. And man, is he tiny at just under 5’8. Doesn’t appear to have the muscle a guy like Dri Archer has, either. Even though there are injuries, it’s telling the team has signed another running back.

Nick Williams’ chances of a roster spot seem slim. Running behind this year’s UDFAs (Ethan Hemer, Josh Mauro). Getting few reps and has not looked even slightly impressive. He’s got to make some noise and fast or else the depth chart is going to bury him.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.