Training Camp

Training Camp Diary: Day Ten

Day Ten of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training camp is in the books. Still fun to watch practice but this was easily the least intense one since the team put on the pads. By my count, not including the waived/injured Rob Blanchflower or the three PUP guys, 16 players held out of team drills. Both sides looked like MASH units, and a drizzly day didn’t help matters. Had to bust out the waterproof paper and pen.

So if this is shorter than usual, that’s why. Team gearing down as we get close to the first preseason game – don’t want any last-second injuries. To the notes we go.

– The injury roundup is probably the most detailed aspect of today’s practice. Josh Harris and DeAngelo Williams were limited to just individual work. Didn’t ever even see Ramon Foster on the field today, little nervous about that. Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton remain out though Bryant is out of his sling while Wheaton remains as active as he can during and after practice. Matt Spaeth got the day off. Isaiah Lewis also missed with an unknown injury.

Daniel McCullers continues to nurse his hamstring injury. Jarvis Jones was again limited, not playing in team periods. James Harrison drove around a golf cart all day. Vince Williams left with a hamstring while Ryan Shazier’s snaps seemed limited, not partaking in at least one of the team periods. Nothing to worry about there, though. Cortez Allen dressed in a hoodie and sweats while William Gay got a rare day off. No Robert Golden, Ross Ventrone, or Mike Mitchell. Shamarko Thomas was in pads but didn’t participated in team drills.

Whew.

Chris Hubbard didn’t miss today’s practice after being carted off yesterday. He was a full participant. So that’s good.

Reese Dismukes hurt his right ankle in practice and missed the middle portion of it but returned to finish things out.

– Watched the receivers run post/out route concepts. Again can see Devin Gardner struggle to stem outside and get out of his breaks. Asking for a lot of movement from a guy who is clearly raw to the position.

Jesse James high pointed the ball on an “on air” drill, earning praise from Ben Roethlisberger.

– With so many injuries at wide receiver, C.J. Goodwin and Sammie Coates ran with the “top group” with Antonio Brown and Darrius Heyward-Bey.

Dri Archer and Kenzel Doe were the two men in the regular return line. Doe muffed at least one.

Danny Smith got in Jawon Chisholm’s ear after the back dropped the ball in the “upback” line.

– Mitchell, Bruce Gradkowski, and Senquez Golson ran the length of the middle field in warmups. Ross Ventrone jogged the width of it.

– Quarterbacks were doing the can drill again. Landry Jones and Roethlisberger each threw it directly into the can once. Crowd loves that drill. They go crazy. Can’t blame them.

– Offensive line got more stunt pickup work in individuals. Little different look though. Just one offensive lineman taking on two “defenders” (also OL) who would be asked to shove the crasher and find the looper.

– Jarvis Jones ran short sprints during ST periods.

– Was hoping to see who would be first-team upback in place of Golden today but the team stuck Shaun Suisham there in their contact-light punting drills. Boo. Ian Wild had been the #2 and I figure Will Allen could be used there, too.

– Archer and Doe were the punt returners in drill. Punters didn’t actually boot anything today. Just an assistant coach throwing a football to simulate it.

– Steelers did bring back the traditional two man wedge in kick return drills. Roosevelt Nix and Cameron Clear were one of the pairings. Jesse James and Ethan Hemer another. Archer served as the starting kick returner, Coates serving as his upback.

– OL/DL results.

1. Kelvin Beachum seals Shayon Green.

2. Ethan Hemer has consistently shown a nice dip/rip and slips past Hubbard.

3. Steve McLendon swims over Cody Wallace.

4. Stephon Tuitt with those violent hands, knocking down David DeCastro’s and getting past.

5. Arthur Moats gets low and into Marcus Gilbert’s chest, walking him back.

6. Beachum anchors Green.

7. Green with quick hands to swat Beachum’s away, winning inside.

8. L.T. Walton dips that left shoulder to get under Mother Hubbard.

9. Tuitt with a bull rush then rip/dip to again beat up DeCastro.

10. Moats with strong hands to knock Gilbert’s away and the outside linebacker wins the edge. May have slipped in the damp grass and he lost his balance fully trying to get upfield. Still a win for the OLB.

11. Green (or Howard Jones, they are still on the middle field, much to my chagrin and probably the teams’ joy) beats Alejandro Villanueva inside.

12. Miles Dieffenbach anchors Joe Kruger. Kruger can flash a good punch on his bull but he doesn’t have many other moves in his toolbox.

13. Howard Jones chops down Villanueva’s hands and dips the edge. Nice play, HoJo.

14. Dieffenbach again anchors Kruger.

15. Mike Thornton doesn’t shed but walks Dismukes back.

16. B.J. Finney does a fine job to slide to the right, staying square to Walton.

17. Bud Dupree dips the edge versus Mitchell Van Dyk.

18. Van Dyk gets arms extended and serves up a good punch but I also think Anthony Chickillo just plain slipped.

19. Thornton appears close to slipping by Dismukes but he too loses his balance and winds up on the ground.

– The offensive line also ran some two man combinations with stunt pickup mixed in there.

First 11 on 11

– Seven shots, beginning on the two.

1. Shayon Green gets the nod at ROLB though he rotated throughout the day with Howard Jones. Ben hits Le’Veon Bell on an angle route for a touchdown.

2. First team safeties are Will Allen and Alden Darby. Never imagined a scenario where Darby would run with the one’s but here we are. Heyward-Bey, Brown, and Goodwin the wide receivers in this 11 personnel. Roethlisberger gets the ball out almost immediately, connecting with Heath Miller in the end zone. Will Allen can’t close in time.

3. Big Ben goes to this second read and hits Antonio Brown on a drag for the offense’s third score in as many plays.

4. Doran Grant at LCB, Jordan Sullen RCB, Kevin Fogg in the slot. Landry Jones with a great throw high where only Jesse James can get it. Full extension from the tight end down the “seam” and he makes the grab with Ian Wild draped all over him, coming to the ground with the ball. James’ most exciting play in camp.

5. Second-team offensive line: Villanueva-Dieffenbach-Wallace-Finney-Van Dyk. Wild and Gerod Holliman are the second team safeties. With only four healthy bodies, there is no third team. Nothing initially there for Landry Jones who scrambles to his right. Throws across his body to an open Clear in the middle of the end zone.

6. Matt Conrath and Joe Kruger act as the nickel ends. Jones chucks up a fade in the right corner to Devin Gardner, who plucks the ball over Doran Grant. Nice catch by the rookie.

7. Draw to Cameron Stingily. Holliman tries to close but Stingily crosses the goal line before falling to the ground.

– Offense went 7 for 7. That’s impressive.

Second 11 on 11

1. Lead Strong, Le’Veon Bell following the burly Roosevelt Nix. Bell does find a hole and bust into the second and third levels but there’s no tackling here. So it’s hard to really give credit for a nice run under those circumstances.

2. Antwon Blake at LCB and Brandon Boykin first team right corner with Gay and Cortez out. Arthur Moats and Howard Jones at OLB. Outside zone to the right. David DeCastro had a great block on Stephon Tuitt while Marcus Gilbert chipped him before working to Will Allen. Bell with a nice run down the right side but again, no tackling.

3. Landry Jones fires a nine route down the right sideline. Probably too much air under it but Antwon Blake, covering DHB, is way too grabby and makes no effort to look back for the ball. Pass is incomplete but it was definitely pass interference.

4. Dive to Bell who slips through a Will Allen wrap-up attempt. Jon Ledyard said DHB had a horrible block on Allen.

5. Pistol. Bell gets the carry on the right side. Arthur Moats with a great job of shedding Gilbert. Moats has had himself a nice camp, even if it doesn’t always get noticed.

6. Tajh Boyd in at QB. Bell gets the tote off the left side. Was watching Coates, away from the run, who was motioned to a tight split, and he initially stuck to Will Allen on his run block. Did fall off late as the safety shedded.

7. Shayon Green gets under Jesse James’ pads and works off him, helping to halt this Cameron Stingily run off the left side.

8. Stingily dive up the middle for about 7 yards. Alejandro Villanueva wound up on the ground on this play. Probably got overextended. Has to work on keeping his legs under him as a run blocker. Excited to see that in the HOF Game.

9. Could tell there was a poor exchange between Boyd and Dismukes. Took the QB way too long to get away from center. Former Clemson QB hits Shakim Phillips on a curl.

10. Jawon Chisholm gets the carry off left guard. Plants and gets upfield, breaking through the grasp on Niko Davis, and then bounces outside towards the left sideline on a nice run.

11. Nix gets the carry. Like yesterday, Terence Garvin meets him in the hole and slows him up. Hit wasn’t as violent today as it was yesterday.

12. Fogg checks in at left corner, Grant at right, and B.W. Webb in the slot. Third team offensive line consisted of: Whimpey-Rahrig-Dismukes-Dieffenbach-Palmer. Stingily runs behind right guard and right tackle, who open up a nice hole. Wild and Holliman in on the tackle.

13. Stingily with the carry, Garvin with the tackle. This is when Dismukes got rolled up on, limping back to the huddle. Was eventually left alone by trainers but I didn’t see him participate in football activity until the OL/DL series. He would come in for the last 11 on 11.

14. B.J. Finney comes in at center to replace Dismukes. Dri Archer receives the handoff and spins away from Jordan Zumwalt at the LOS.

15. Tyler Murphy on a zone read, pulling the ball out of Archer’s belly. Clear path down the left side before Holliman grabs his jersey and draws the horn.

Third 11 on 11

1. Blake and Boykin again the base corners. HoJo over Green at ROLB, though they rotated all day so this really means little. Will Allen blitzes and Bell does a nice job to pick him up. DHB comes back to the ball and Roethlisberger finds him on the numbers to the left side.

2. Big Ben throws a little high to DHB, who jumps up and makes the catch against Blake.

3. Hot route, Ben hitting Miller almost immediately.

4. Jones throws a little high to Devin Gardner, who slightly has to break stride, but the receiver still fails to make what should’ve been a clean catch, double-catching the football. Doran Grant on coverage. No full tackling here, either.

5. Sean Spence and Terence Garvin at ILB. Pairings got weird today. Jones slightly underthrows Dri Archer on a vertical route down the right sideline but credit to Kevin Fogg for finding the football and breaking it up.

6. Jawon Chisholm immediately hits the hole and gains a couple yards, falling forward at the end.

7. Second-team defensive line status quo as the last few days. L.T. Walton/Cam Thomas/Clifton Geathers. Roethlisberger tosses it right over Anthony Chickillo’s outstretched fingertips, complete to AB in stride on a post.

8. Bell has good blitz pickup on Ian Wild. Ben to Gardner but the receiver drops it. “Come on one-five,” Mike Tomlin yells out.

9. Roethlisberger throws deep down the right sideline complete to Darrius Heyward-Bey, who torched cornerback Jordan Sullen.

10. Tyler Murphy comes in and his pass to Sammie Coates is low and away. May have been slight miscommunication as to where the receiver was going to settle down at.

11. Jordan Zumwalt and Ryan Shazier star in their own version of The Odd Couple, paired up at inside linebacker. Two totally different playing styles. Zumwalt blitzes while Shazier drops on this play, the blitz putting Chisholm on skates. Murphy is able to complete the pass this time to Coates along the right side.

12. Defensive line consisting of the third team. From left to right: Matt Conrath/Mike Thornton/Joe Kruger. Doe is the lone WR and looks back to one of the coaches, probably Todd Haley, unsure of what his assignment is. Sean Spence blitzes off the offense’s left edge but Murphy responds by hitting Doe on an out to the left sideline.

Fourth 11 on 11

1. David DeCastro and Maurkice Pouncey open up a big running lane for Bell.

2. Playaction with Brown catching the pass from #7, the receiver running a dig. Alden Darby can’t quite close in time and again, can’t hit either.

3. Another playaction from Ben. Nothing available downfield. Kelvin Beachum stones Shayon Green but the OLB does show awareness to try and get his hand up and Ben checks down to Bell in the left flat. Can’t and the pass is complete.

4. Stephon Tuitt and Ethan Hemer paired up as nickel ends. It was that kind of wonky day. Handoff to Stingily. Tuitt makes quick work of the rookie back.

5. Jones fires a quick out to Shakim Phillips. Receiver did a nice job to get his head around just in time, find the ball, and make the catch. Wild had the coverage.

6. Left outside zone to Chisholm. HoJo does a good job to shed and give chase, bringing the back to the ground in this typically non-tacking period.

7. Playaction by Roethlisberger for a third time. Ian Wild with a really heady play, opting against blitzing and sinking to cover Roosevelt Nix on this flat/9 combination. There’s nowhere else for Ben to go with the football. Would have been a sack but we play on as Ben fires all the way across the field complete to Bell. A throw that even the inventive Roethlisberger wouldn’t make in an actual game.

8. Jones lines up as a LOLB alongside Chickillo. Wrinkle we’ve seen from Keith Butler a couple times. Draw to Bell.

9. Outside to to the left to Stingily. He does find the hole and get upfield but he’s just slow to break down and explode downhill.

10. Boyd complete to Coates over the middle. Moats blew Stingily up on a blitz.

11. Boyd in the pistol, Chisholm behind. Outside zone to the back.

12. Boyd throws screen right to Archer. Kudos to Thornton for sniffing it out and giving great chase to the ball, trying to track down the speedy back the whole way. Little things like that go a long way for John Mitchell.

Fifth 11 on 11

– Two minute drill for the second-team offense who, if you didn’t block it out already, went backwards seven yards and threw a pick in their attempt yesterday.

1. Dismukes is back at center for this. Bud Dupree and Shayon Green the outside linebackers. Dupree starts covering C.J. Goodwin in the slot but a check pulls him back to the core of the formation. Jones starts things off by hitting Will Johnson over the middle.

2. Landry tries to follow it up with a screen to the left but Terence Garvin flies in and bats the flailing pass away.

3. Doran Grant blitzes off the offense’s left. Jones complete to Heyward-Bey, who smartly ducks out of bounds.

4. Jones complete to Johnson. Dupree dropped into coverage, he did several times as you’d expect, and made the full tackle in this thud tackle drill.

5. Mitchell Van Dyk does a nice job to mirror Dupree’s inside spin. Jones checks down to Stingily, who does not get lit up this time around. After yesterday, he’s probably real thankful for that.

6. Jones hits Jesse James over the middle. Spence, getting a lot of depth, showcases that “see-to-do” and closes really quick on the ball. Still a catch but nice play from #51. Not sure if this was related or not but Tomlin yells out moments after, “Get there fast, that’s what we’re looking for!”

7. Pass into end zone as Gardner runs an out but the receiver drops the ball. Blah.

8. Jones hits Stingily. Thought Dupree made a nice play to wrap with his left and bring his right hand down to try and knock the ball out. Stingily, to his credit, hung on.

9. Van Dyk moves to right guard while Palmer comes in at RT. Jones hits rookie tight end Cameron Clear over the middle for the touchdown. Much better job by the second-team offense today.

Sixth 11 on 11

– It’s the third team’s try, led by Tyler Murphy. Ryan Shazier is also at ILB because they were so short on bodies. Again, weird day.

1. Third team nickel, a coach calls out. Matt Conrath and Niko Davis trot out. Anthony Chickillo at LOLB with Howard Jones ROLB. Murphy throws low to Phillips on the right side but the receiver gets under the ball and makes the grab. The ‘ol Boston College connection.

2. Clear must have heard footsteps, dropping this pass near the left seam.

3. Didn’t see how it happened but Jordan Sullen gets toasted by Gardner, who isn’t exactly an innate separator. Told you Sullen was tall and stiff. Murphy hits him in stride on a skinny post and the receiver outruns Sullen into the end zone.

Mitch Hedberg Joke Of The Day 

“When you go to a restaurant on the weekends and it’s busy they start a waiting list. They start calling out names, they say ‘Dufrane, party of two. Dufrane, party of two.’ And if no one answers they’ll say their name again. ‘Dufrane, party of two, Dufrane, party of two.’ But then if no one answers they’ll just go right on to the next name. ‘Bush, party of three.’

Yeah, what happened to the Dufranes? Who can eat at a time like this? People are missing! The Dufranes are in someone’s trunk right now, with duct tape over their mouths. And they’re hungry. That’s a double whammy. Bush, search party of three. You can eat when you find the Dufranes.”

Let’s Talk About…

…my McLumina. We talked about my car shopping for this grocery-getter before. But yesterday made me realize how much of a grandpa car I’m driving. I took the back way, though the more direct route, to camp yesterday. Avoid construction but get met with a windy road and a ton of hills.

Going up one of these hills at literally 35 miles an hour. Give the McLumina more gas to get it up the hill…and nothing. Still 35. I’m pretty sure I went all Fred Flintstone and put my foot onto the pavement at one point. No faster. If a vehicle could sigh and roll it eyes, as if to say why bother, my McLumina did to me yesterday.

There was a tractor trailer behind me and I could just sense who was actively angry at how slow I was going. So if you ever get behind a gold Lumina that is huffing and puffing along, please don’t throw things at it.

Twitter Fan Question

@raindancers12 asks…

“think moments like these Whimpey gets any play inside at L Guard? That’s what he was supposed to be seen as for pros, not OT”

You’re right I saw Kevin Whimpey as a guard, or at best, a right tackle, in the NFL. So far, it’s been all left tackle with the third team. They do move players around so it’s possible but there also isn’t someone who can step in to be that third-team left tackle until Mike Adams comes back and gives them some options. So Whimpey may be unfortunately stuck there.

SVC Is Beautiful 

Picture I actually snapped sitting on the hill Monday after the bleachers were evacuated due to weather.

SVC12

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