Tuesday marked day seven of training camp for the Pittsburgh Steelers and here is a recap of all the media and updates from the internet and Twitter.
Health wise, tight end Heath Miller (ankle) returned on a limited basis after missing the last several practices. Still sidelined though is punter Jeremy Kapinos (back). Cornerback Keenan Lewis (shoulder), who suffered a sprained AC joint on Sunday, was back at practice on Tuesday despite several reports that he might be out a while. Lewis toughing it out is great to see as he is focused on not losing the outside corner spot opposite Ike Taylor. The PUP list remains the same but head coach Mike Tomlin announced after practice that safety Damon Cromartie-Smith would be able to practice on Wednesday, which means he will be taken off the list. The only new injury that Tomlin reported Tuesday was a hamstring strain suffered by undrafted free agent cornerback Terry Carter. Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders also returned to practice on Tuesday after being given off Sunday. Both David DeCasto and Trai Essex worked after rolling their ankle on Sunday.
Tuesday featured the drill in which the wide receiver stalk and block the defensive backs, and according to Twitter, there were a few scuffles as a result. Antonio Brown got into it with Taylor while Derrick Williams got into it with undrafted cornerback Andre Freeman. As a result, the players were reminded after the drill that they all play for the same team.
Todd Haley announced before practice that Tuesday would consist a lot of no-huddle work and indicated that it would be a big part of what they do this season. Reports indicate that indeed the hurry-up offense was featured and there was a lot of parsing Tuesday as a result. There are reports that Ben Roethlisberger was mostly in the shotgun today and got the ball out in a hurry today on three step drops. There were not a lot of long passes thrown today. Roethlisberger even ran the option during the no-huddle team session today according to Mark Kaboly.
Weslye Saunders, who by many reports is having a strong camp thus far, received starting tight end reps in the 11-on11 portion of practice. Running back Chris Rainey worked in the slot quite a bit and had a few nice catch and runs on a few slants that the crowds approve of. Kaboly notes that both DeCastro and fellow rookie linemen Mike Adams are still inconsistent right now, but that in his opinion, that is to be expected. Those two should start settling in by the time the first preseason game rolls around we hope. The starting five remain the same with both the rookies still rotating in with the first team. Ramon Foster received some work at right tackle in addition to right guard, while Marcus Gilbert received reps at both tackle spots. Kelvin Beachum still has some transitioning to do as he continues to take on the move inside to left guard. Defensive end Al Woods got the best of the rookie a few times in 11-on-11. Former fifth round pick Chris Scott is reportedly struggling at the start of camp and he might be long shot to even make the practice squad at this point.
We are hearing the name of Marquis Maze every day it seems, as the smallish receiver continues to make some nice catches. The name of Toney Clemons was also associated with drops once again today, so it appears he might be losing the spot that seemed to be his to lose. If I had to guess right now, Williams is ahead of him on the depth chart and possibly Maze as well. We shall see come the first preseason game. Brown, by many accounts, is head and shoulders above all the receivers on the field. Sanders was noted particularly for his great ability to come back to the ball.
Cornerbacks Taylor and Lewis were noted as having good days in coverage while Cortez Allen worked again as the first team nickel. LaMarr Woodley is surely back healthy now and several reports say he had another great day. If he can stay away from the hamstring problems that plagued him last year, he could be in for a monster season. Chris Carter, who reportedly has gained a little weight and gotten stronger this offseason, was also noted as having another good practice with both James Harrison and Jason Worilds still on the PUP list. Stevenson Sylvester worked behind Woodley at left outside linebacker today, while Brandon Johnson received work inside. these two players very well could be in a battle for a roster spot as coaches test their position flexibility. Mortty Ivy also received reps outside in addition. Even Lawrence Timmons and Larry Foote both swapped roles on Tuesday as Timmons got a chance to make the calls as the BUCK.
Steve McLendon is having a great start to camp according to Kaboly. He reportedly is unblockable right now in the The Oklahoma drill. Rookie Alameda Ta\’amu reportedly also had some good battles on Tuesday with backup center Doug Legursky, according to Ken Laird. Cameron Heyward continues to impress and schooled Adams, his former teammate a few times.
There was one roster move on Tuesday as the Steelers released recently signed tackle Bridger Buche and signed wide receiver Paul Cox, a tall undrafted rookie free agent out of Mississippi Valley State, who was recently waived by the San Diego Chargers. The Steelers will be back at work again on Wednesday.