It\’s hard to believe that nine days of training camp have already passed for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their first preseason game takes place next Saturday and their next day off won\’t be until Tuesday. Here is a recap of the few tidbits floating around the interwebs from day nine.
Perhaps the biggest news on Saturday was the amount of players that did not practice. Head coach Mike Tomlin didn\’t go through the laundry list after practice as he wrote many of them off as being training camp bumps and bruises and only said that several are working their way back in 24 to 48 hours. Those players that we do know didn\’t practice include Cortez Allen (knee), Terry Hawthorne (knee), DeMarcus Van Dyke (hamstring), Matt Spaeth (knee), Jason Worilds (toe), Le\’Veon Bell (knee), Adrian Robinson (unknown), Jarvis Jones (unknown), Lawrence Timmons (personal), Brett Keisel (coaches decision), Steve McLendon (unknown), Heath Miller (PUP knee), David Johnson (PUP knee), Sean Spence (PUP knee) and Alameda Ta\’amu (PUP hamstring). We don\’t know for sure what the status of Nick Williams (knee) was today.
Tomlin said after practice that it wasn\’t a good one, but a great one and added that they worked on short-yardage and goal-line on Saturday. He said the offense won the short-yardage phase while the defense came on top in the goal-line portion.
John Kryk of the Toronto Sun was at practice Saturday and reported that Roethlisberger sat out the 11-on-11 portion of practice after looking sharp in individual drills. Kryk also reports that on one of the short-yardage reps, inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester had a crushing hit on Jonathan Dwyer. Sure, that\’s only one play, but I think it\’s been a while since I last typed Sylvester\’s name.
Kryk also reported that tempers flared a few times and it included Hebron Fangupo throwing a few punches during one of the disagreements. Come to find out he was throwing them at Ramon Foster, according to Bob Labriola of Steelers Digest, who added that Dick LeBeau snatched the young nose tackle to the side and gave him a stern talking to after it happened.
LeBeau was not the only coach doing correcting as apparently Todd Haley had his differences with Antonio Brown during the goal-line portion of practice. That led to Tomlin talking to Brown, according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Both Labriola and Jim Wexell of Steel City Insider reported quarterback John Parker Wilson as having a good day. He apparently has shown some good accuracy as of late. It will be interesting to see the rotation used in the first preseason game as it appears Landry Jones still might be fourth on the depth chart right now. Jones apparently needs to improve his arm strength first and foremost.
There was a report early in the day by Wexell stating Mike Adams remained on the left side in walk-thru portion of practice. We are not sure if it remained that way all day or not, but Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer reported Saturday afternoon that he thinks Marcus Gilbert belongs on the bench as he doesn\’t consider him one of the best five linemen on the team right now. Lolley goes on to say that Gilbert is not consistent and that he thinks Kelvin Beachum should be on the right side with Adams manning the left side. That\’s a pretty strong opinion and it makes you wonder if Adams will end up as the starting left tackle by the start of the season. We still have another week to go until the first preseason game, so a lot still could happen between now and the season opener.
Speaking of offensive linemen, Justin Cheadle reportedly received some work at center on Saturday, according to Labriola. This, however, is not the first time we have heard this, so they are likely still testing his position flexibility. Now that Nik Embernate is out for the season with a knee injury, you have to think Cheadle and Mike Golic Jr. are battling for a guard spot on the practice squad. Cheadle of course ended the 2012 season on the eight man unit, so he might very well have the upper hand right now.
There were some conflicting reports today about the punters, so I\’ll just pass along David Todd of 970 ESPN Radio saying that both looked good Saturday until Brian Moorman shanked one. There\’s your punter update for the weekend.
Being as we are talking about punters, rookie Reggie Dunn reportedly got a stern chewing from Tomlin after he chose not to field a punt that would have resulted in it being downed deep.
The Steelers waived Embernate injured on Saturday and he should revert back to the injured reserve list after clearing waivers. To fill his spot on the roster, the team signed free agent tackle D’Anthony Batiste to a one-year deal for the minimum. Batiste will be hard pressed to make the 53 man roster. The Steelers simply needed another tackle body now that Golic has been moved inside to replace the injured Embernate.
The Steelers will be back at it again on Sunday and so will I.