Recapping The Steelers First Eleven Days Of Training Camp

By Alex Kozora

Short recap of the last two days of Pittsburgh Steelers training camp practices. We’ll delve into it more Saturday morning before the first game.

11 on 11 stats from Wednesday’s and Thursday’s practice.

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger: 17/23
Bruce Gradkowski: 9/10
Landry Jones: 15/22
Brendon Kay: 6/9 1 TD

Statistically, good performances all around. Roethlisberger was the first QB with 5+ attempts to go perfect in a practice, recording a 9/9 performance Thursday.

Running Backs’ carries

Le’Veon Bell: 8
Tauren Poole: 6
Dri Archer: 6
LeGarrette Blount: 5
Jawan Jamison: 5
Jordan Hall: 5
Miguel Maysonet: 5
Josh Harris: 3
Markus Wheaton: 1

Harris lagging behind the rest.

Receivers’ targets/receptions/touchdowns

Derek Moye: 10/6
Martavis Bryant: 6/5/1
Justin Brown: 6/4
Antonio Brown: 4/3
Heath Miller: 4/3
Lanear Sampson: 4/2
Dri Archer: 3/3
Markus Wheaton: 3/3
LeGarrette Blount: 3/2
Tauren Poole: 3/2
Rob Blanchflower: 2/2
Michael Palmer: 2/2
David Paulson: 2/2
Le’Veon Bell: 2/1
CJ Goodwin:
1/1
Jordan Hall: 1/1
Josh Harris: 1/1
Jawan Jamison: 1/1
Miguel Maysonet: 1/1
Lance Moore: 1/1
Eric Waters: 1/1
Kashif Moore: 1/0

Derek Moye continues to rack up the targets with three catches on five targets each day. Still, I feel like he’s more of a big body quarterbacks will chuck it up to rather than being a true receiver. A drop and possible miscommunication on one play make up two of the incompletions.

In team drills, Bryant has put together some strong practices. Making impact plays have become routine for him. Still think he has a way to go and it’s easier when you get to whip guys like Isaiah Green, Antwon Blake, and Lew Toler, but slightly warming up to him as camp goes on. Keep in mind I’ve never doubted his potential, dating back to him pre-draft.

With Miller and Bell both suffering drops, Maysonet is the only Steeler to catch every target thrown his way. Pressure to remain perfect starts continues.

And your stats for the nine practices in pads.

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger: 73/108 (67.6%) 3 TD 2 INT
Bruce Gradkowski: 41/64 (64%) 2 TD 1 INT
Landry Jones: 47/74 (63.5%) 1 TD 2 INT
Brendon Kay: 23/36 (63.9%) 2 TD 3 INT

Running Backs’ carries

Jordan Hall: 36
Miguel Maysonet: 34
Tauren Poole: 34
Dri Archer: 27
Josh Harris: 27
Le’Veon Bell: 25
LeGarrette Blount: 18
Jawan Jamison: 14
Markus Wheaton: 1

Receivers’ targets/receptions/touchdowns

Antonio Brown: 30/19/1
Derek Moye: 25/13/1
Martavis Bryant: 23/15/2
Justin Brown: 19/13/1
Markus Wheaton: 18/14
Dri Archer: 13/7
Lance Moore: 12/10
Le’Veon Bell: 11/10
Heath Miller: 11/10
Matt Spaeth: 10/6
Josh Harris: 9/8
Will Johnson: 9/7
Tauren Poole: 9/6
Kashif Moore: 7/6
David Paulson: 7/6
Danny Coale: 7/5
Lanear Sampson: 7/5
Michael Palmer: 7/4
Miguel Maysonet: 6/6
Jordan Hall: 6/4
LeGarrette Blount: 5/2
Bryce Davis: 4/3
CJ Goodwin: 4/1
Rob Blanchflower: 2/2
Eric Waters: 2/2
Jawan Jamison: 1/1

A short recap at some winners and losers of camp. Keep in mind the games will start to really shape the story. Not the practices. In no particular order, my list.

Winners

1. Markus Wheaton – Aside from suffering a couple of drops in Wednesday’s practice, I’ve yet to see him have a bad practice. He shows the ability to separate, overall possesses good hands, and the body control to make difficult catches. The team has asked a lot out of this second-year kid receiving his first heavy workload but Wheaton has responded.

2. Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount – Both have had nice camps. Bell does look quicker with the weight he’s dropped. Hope to see longer runs more often out of him in Year Two. Blount’s combination of quick feet, downhill style, and some power I hadn’t previously seen makes him a great #2 to Bell. His hands out of the backfield are terrible, though.

3. Tauren Poole – He’s “won” in the sense he holds lead in the race to try and grab a #4 spot. Sporting a decent build who can flash a big run, Poole has shown well in pass protection while being an asset on special teams. He’s been used as first team upback on kick returns and second team upback on punt coverage. In each practice, he’s been the first running to enter after Bell, Blount, and Archer.

4. Kelvin Beachum and Marcus Gilbert – A couple of tackles lead the way along an offensive line I’ve been impressed with so far. Beachum has consistently been excellent in team drills while Marcus Gilbert has shown well against Jason Worilds. 77 being healthy has been an obvious elixir to getting him to the level he is capable of playing at. I like Gilbert’s chemistry with David DeCastro, too.

5. Wesley Johnson – Although he’s had his rough patches and the excitement has cooled down a tad, the fact the team has given him work at three positions along the offensive line – center, left guard, and left tackle – shows their high level of interest in him. He’s another guy that has been used on special teams, adding to his value.

6. Matt Spaeth – The burly, blocking tight end isn’t a glaring winner but I wanted to add in a few guys I don’t always talk about. The preseason isn’t really a time to evaluate veterans like Spaeth, the team already knows about his body of work, but he’s still played well. A solid blocker who can base or pull and kick out. He’s no athlete but has been sure-handed when the team has looked his way.

7. Stephon Tuitt – When Dick LeBeau gets excited about a guy, you can’t help but listen. Just watch Tuitt and you can see why. Blessed with size, length, quick hands, and some flexibility around the edge, he may not start the year, but he’s going to force his way onto the field. Still concerns about putting too much on a 21 year olds plate, but for now, I’m enjoying watching him play.

8. Vince Williams – Williams has been around the ball all camp and his old school, pop you in the mouth style is refreshing in an era where teams are looking for the fastest athletes. He forces other players to embrace violence. On the gridiron, that is a compliment of the highest order.

9. Sean Spence – Spence is healthy but that was evident right away. He’s not only healthy, he’s going to help this team win. He’s shown well in the absence of Ryan Shazier while serving on the first team on both punt and kick coverage.

10. Brad Wing – Although it’s difficult to judge Wing considering he’s the only punter in camp, he looks to be doing a bang-up job. The ball explodes off his foot and based on my recordings, his hang times have been excellent. He’s also been the starting holder, an underrated but important position. He has to carry this over to games as well but it’s a nice start.

Honorable Mentions: Will Johnson, Howard Jones, Martavis Bryant

Losers

1. C.J. Goodwin – I know Goodwin is not the first guy you talk about when discussing training camp but it’s been disappointing for a guy who has some physical tools and got a recommendation from Mel Blount. As with some of the “losers,” part of the issue has been injury, but that isn’t a free pass at cut down day. An injured left shoulder has dogged him and taken away a lot of his playing time. He has just four targets in camp and one reception. Even the theory of him making the practice squad now seems dim.

2. Rob Blanchflower – Like Goodwin, Blanchflower met the untimely welcome of an ankle sprain. He has since returned from it but judging off what I saw yesterday, the ankle is still bothering him. The majority of Steelers’ fans don’t want to see David Paulson or Michael Palmer on this roster but that could end up being the case if a guy like Blanchflower doesn’t earn his hat.

3. Mike Adams – I don’t want to spend a lot of time on him, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point him out. His last two practices have been better but he’s still got a boatload of issues in pass protection. He’s lost some second-team left tackle snaps to Wesley Johnson. Not a positive sign. Adams really needs to look good in the preseason.

4. Emmanuel McCray – Another guy I don’t want to spend more time bashing. We are talking about a UDFA here, not a 1st rounder. But positive plays from the right tackle have been few and far between from the onset and it’s likely he will be one of the first cuts on August 26th. Perhaps sooner if his practice tape translates to games.

5. Chris Carter – Not much has been made of Carter but that’s not an endorsement. He’s still a player that is weak against the run and doesn’t use his hands well as a pass rusher. Many fans are rooting for Howard Jones to usurp him, and while I’m not quite sure yet if that’s likely, it’s hard to blame them.

6. Shaquille Richardson – The rookie has had his moments but to see him running as the 3rd team corner shows where he’s at in the pecking order. It’s not as if the team has been coy about giving reps to the rookies that have impressed. Brice McCain’s versatility and special team’s value, playing over Richardson, means the former Wildcat is going to have an uphill battle.

Honorable (Dis)mentions: Josh Harris and Jordan Hall, Derek Moye, all the backup defensive ends

Senior in college, blogging from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Burgh Ball

    Alex, Thanks for the write up and it’s nice getting it from a boot on the ground. Re – Wheaton – I do have one concern – durability – we’ll see

  • Ken

    Thanks for these reports, they are a football junkies dream come true. Since you didn’t mention Blake, is he a lock as the fourth corner?

  • Biggie

    Pretty much what I’ve been reading from everywhere. Very disappointed one of the young DEs haven’t stepped up and honestly if one doesn’t within next couple weeks then Keisel may need to be called up and just push a couple of them to PS.

  • ajleight

    Great read, thanks.

  • Jon Crissinger

    Loving all of the INTs. Hopefully it translates to the field this year.

  • Mike

    Went to camp Wednesday and Thursday. I wouldn’t say Carter, Richardson, or Moye were losers. Their play has been good, nothing spectacular but not bad.

    I would add Antwon Blake as a loser. He has been bad the last couple of days at CB. He is a good gunner though.

    Wheaton had more than one drop. He will be the #2 receiver and have 700 – 800 yards this year but he is also going to have one or two drops per game. And it is really going to piss off some of the fans, just like Emmanuel Sanders did last year.

  • Dom

    One or two drops PER GAME?

  • Mike

    Maybe that is an exaggeration. But on Wednesday in all drills Wheaton was 2 for 5 with 3 drops. Only one was a bad drop. The other two were on his fingertips as he extended. You might consider them overthrown, but I still think he should have caught them.

    On Thursday he was 4/4, so that’s a plus.

  • Alex Kozora

    Blake has done some nice things but he has been beaten up by Bryant. Understandable given the size difference but it’s still a little hard to call him a “winner.” He’s a near lock to make the team though I still think if it came down to a 4th corner, Sharmarko Thomas or Will Allen would enter before Blake. Especially if we’re talking about having someone play the slot. Blake has strictly been on the outside.

  • Alex Kozora

    Wednesday was really the first day he’s dropped passes. Chalk it up to a bad day.

  • steeltown

    If Richardson can improve his special teams play then he could move up the chart IMO because McCain and Green have not been overly impressive

  • Steelers@2010

    The Diesel is gone, time to move on.

  • JAMESH

    Alex- I think that no other writer covering the Steelers gives us the information we want as well as you do. You are greatly appreciated.

    P.S. – I wish I had the gas that Mike Adams wasted driving to Pittsburgh.

  • Steve

    Where you been? Truitt has been doing Great and not one mention.