Steelers’ Training Camp Diary: Day 14

This is it, the final go around.

Weather held off, save for a quick shower, until this afternoon on my drive home. So forecast-wise, things ended on a high note.

Injury front, plenty of guys out today. Anthony Chickillo, Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, Artie Burns, Jarvis Jones, Jerald Hawkins, Marcus Gilbert, Bud Dupree, and L.T. Walton were all held out today. Most of the injuries are known and have been multi-day absences. Ume-Ezeoke is new to the list, though I didn’t see him in team drills yesterday, and it looks like some sort of leg injury. Sort of limped around.

Travis Feeney and Markus Wheaton practiced in full for a second straight day though again, Wheaton seemed to be held out towards the latter half of the day. Jermauria Rasco practiced in full after leaving early yesterday.

Ladarius Green did some light jogging, stretching, and then ended things by running a few routes and catching passes from a trainer.

Wade Hansen and Khaynin Mosley-Smith were in team drills today meaning all the recent signees have been worked into team drills.

Jordan Berry, Demarcus Ayers, and Levi Norwood were the first players out at 2:35. I guess we never had a really consistent pair of BFFs though I’d give the honors to Ayers and Norwood. Really though, like I said early in camp, Richard Mann and James Daniel deserve it.

– Before practice, Mike Mitchell and Robert Golden jokingly sparred. Mitchell has a mean left kick.

– Offensive line groupings were the same as yesterday. Alejandro Villanueva and Ryan Harris first team tackles. And here’s the second team.

Chris Hubbard-Cole Manhart-Cody Wallace-B.J. Finney-Matt Feiler

– The team practiced on the middle field again but the tight ends briefly worked on part of the near field so I watched them for a couple minutes. David Johnson doesn’t have the length that most tight ends do but that allows him to hit his second step for making contact, creating power and explosion on contact.

– No one-on-one work today. A bunch of team sessions took its place.

First Session

1.  Didn’t even do seven shots today. Ball was placed on the 40. Ben Roethlisberger kicks things over with a completion over the middle to Eli Rogers.

2. Fake the run action to the left and Ben hits Xavier Grimble in the right flat with Robert Golden quickly closing.

3. Ben fakes the bubble to the right to Antonio Brown and hits Le’Veon Bell on a screen to the left. Pass goes through James Harrison’s hands and Bell makes the catch, though Ryan Shazier is right there.

4. Donald Washington comes on a blitz. Roethlisberger finds Grimble again but Vince Williams quickly taps him.

5. Kevin White and Donald Washington the second team cornerbacks. Jordan Zumwalt/Mike Reilly the OLBs and Javon Hargrave/Ricardo Mathews in nickel. Toussaint nice blitz pickup on Williams. Landry Jones hits Brown on a drag left to right, chased by Shamarko Thomas.

6. Williams blitzes off the defense’s right side. Jones finds Darrius Heyward-Bey on a curl to the left sideline.

7. Jones again to DHB to the left, Jacob Hagen on the coverage. It was an empty set with Roosevelt Nix split out wide.

8. Safety Jordan Dangerfield blitzes but Daryl Richardson picks it up well. Jones throws down and away but Cobi Hamilton makes the catch with Tyler Matakevich on the coverage.

9. Travis Feeney in at LOLB. Roethlisberger back in. Holds onto the ball for awhile before attempting a short floater to the left for AB. Montell Garner nearly picks it off and AB has to play defensive back to poke it out.

10. Ryan Shazier lined at LOLB but drops into coverage. Short throw to Eli Rogers from Ben.

11. Roethlisberger fires deep down the right sideline for AB but Sean Davis, a couple steps behind, tracks the ball the whole way and swats it away.

12. Feeney dips under Harris around the edge. Roethlisberger tests his arm out again, this time successfully, complete to Le’Veon Bell deep down the left sideline. Bell had several steps on Rasco and Mike Mitchell can’t close things off in time.

13. For his first rep, Dustin Vaughan hits Grimble on a quick out. Javon Hargrave chased after the ball and wrapped him up.

14. Vaughan complete again to Marcus Tucker on an out route along the left sideline.

15. Doran Grant in at safety. Feeney came up free up the middle and bumped into Vaughan. Play keeps rolling and Vaughan hits Michael Cooper, who makes a nice snag over Matakevich down the middle of the field.

Second Session

1. Bell starts things off with a carry over the left side. Maurkice Pouncey with a nice second level stick on Steven Johnson, securing him the whole way.

2. This time, Pouncey pulls to his right and slams into Feeney, who is never able to shed. Bell runs off his inside hip and into the secondary for a big gain.

3. Split zone with Paul Lang leading the way. DeAngelo Williams off his outside hip. Defense couldn’t tackle today but Dangerfield had a nice angle in the open field.

4. Williams again on the left side, David DeCastro and Roosevelt Nix pulling. 45 on 45 crime, Nix got under Rasco and drove him back.

5. Defensive line of Devaunte Sigler-Mosley-Smith-Johnny Maxey. Clean pocket for Jones but nothing available downfield and he hits Nix on a checkdown.

6. Playaction and Jones hits a leaping Rogers over the middle. Think Grimble did a nice job in pass pro on someone.

7. Richardson carry. Lavon Hooks sheds and taps him up in the backfield as Richardson scoots upfield to finish the run.

8. Richardson carry left side and again, Hooks flows to the football well and is the first man to meet him.

9. Vaughan playaction. Slant to Ayers, a little out in front but the rookie receiver makes a nice snag in front of him. He has a good set of mitts. Gets back up immediately and turns upfield.

10. Brandon Brown-Dukes with the carry up the middle. Shamarko Thomas tries to rip the ball out.

11. Playaction, Vaughan looking for Levi Norwood who is working back for the football. But the pass is double-caught and Kevin White bumps him to eliminate any chance for a second opportunity.

12. Brown-Dukes carry off right guard.

Third Session

1. Ball on the Steelers’ own nine. Jones in at QB and playfakes. Chris Hubbard barely seals James Harrison up the arc. Looks for Issac Blakeney on a skinny post but Dangerfield contests and breaks it up, batting it into the air. Blakeney claps his hands at the end of the play, a chance for a big-man’s catch missed.

2. Handoff to Toussaint. Stephon Tuitt clogs the middle.

3. Harrison free on his rush, tagging Jones from behind. He fires to Coates on a slant versus Ross Cockrell.

4. Playaction. Tuitt would’ve had a free path to the quarterback but falls for the playfake and pins his eyes to the running back. Jones winds up checking down to the back, Cameron Stingily, who hauls in the pass before Washington bumps him out of bounds along the left sideline.

5. Tuitt shoots into the backfield to disrupt this run to Richardson. Hargrave meets him at the LOS.

6. Looked like a screen to Richardson but L.J. Fort engages him and the back is never able to release. Jones chucks the ball into the dirt.

7. Brown-Dukes carry off the left side. Reilly with better gap integrity than yesterday, fighting Cooper and keeping his outside arm free, forcing Brown-Dukes inside and upfield.

8. Matakevich blitzes in free so Vaughan throws hot to Brown-Dukes in the left flat, who jukes Dangerield and Hagen and Julian Whigham chase.

9. UDFA Christian Powell gets his first tote up the middle. Caushaud Lyons holds the point of attack and stuffs the run.

10. Another carry for Powell up the gut.

11. Wade Hansen shoves Feeney up the arc on this pass. Vaughan finds Ayers on a drag but Lawrence Timmons gives him a hard shove, sending the rookie receiver sprawling into the ground a couple yards back.

12. Vaughan wants Tucker on a comeback but Washington reads and jumps the route, picking the pass off for, giving the Steelers’ DBs interceptions in back-to-back days.

Fourth Session

1. Third team DL in, Sigler/Mosley-Smith/Maxey. Jones looks for DHB on an out route but the receiver drops it…

2. Bell motioned to an empty set. Jones complete to Coates sitting down over the middle, maybe on a Hank concept. Matakevich first man there.

3. Active eyes from Pouncey who picks up a blitz off the left side. Jones complete to Jesse James over the middle, Dangerfield a step slow from breaking it up.

4. Quick throw from Jones to Coates, a curl route against soft coverage.

5. Jones complete to Hamilton. Rasco took exception to something that happened near the line of scrimmage, a brief dust-up. Offensive assistant coach Shaun Sarrett walks Rasco back to the defensive huddle.

6. Vaughan complete to Ayers over the middle.

7. Shamarko Thomas and Jacob Hagen at safety with Doran Grant working over the slot in some sort of big-nickel look. Quick slant from Vaughan to Hamilton.

8. Clean pocket for #13, down the right seam for Blakeney. Had a couple steps on Kevin White but the pass is way overthrown and incomplete.

9. Vaughan complete to David Johnson over the middle, a contested catch against Fort.

10. Defensive line pairing: Hargrave-Daniel McCullers-Lyons. Vaughan to Bell on a quick pitch and catch.

11. Hargrave-McCullers-Hooks as your DL as the lines get jumbled up quite a bit. Rasco pressure on a screen from Vaughan to Brown-Dukes, Fort the first man there.

12. Vaughan hits Hamilton on a fancy over route, a leaping grab by #83. McCullers must have been dead tired at this point, completely immobile and just leaning on B.J. Finney like he was a lamppost.

Fifth Session

1. Playaction with Arthur Moats getting pressure on Landry Jones. Complete to Lang.

2. Powell with a gash up the middle. Hansen had a nice seal to create the lane.

3. Jones hits Blakeney on a curl, Cockrell tagging him up.

4. Tucker and Hamilton outside with Coates in the slot. Tuitt and Cam Heyward meet each other at Jones, who quickly fires to hit Coates over the middle, Timmons leaning into him to clean everything up.

5. Stingily carry off the right side. Ricardo Mathews busts through Cole Manhart for the TFL, a regular occurrence during camp.

6. Norwood makes the grab from Jones over the middle. Got spun down by someone, I think Garner.

7. I think Powell got the carry again, an active day for him. Williams shoots in free up the A gap and Powell bounces to his right, but Hargrave is holding the POA and there’s really nowhere for the back to go.

8. Vaughan finds Cooper in the right flat.  He races downfield and looks to lower his shoulder into Vince Williams but it’s Cooper who just flatly bounces off of him and crumples to the ground.

9. #13 climbs the pocket and hits Rogers on an over right, an impressive fingertip catch before Dangerfield can get there.

10. Mitchell and Feeney come on a blitz. Vaughan heaves deep downfield to an open Coates but the pass was either six inches in front of grazes through the receiver’s fingertips.

11. Toss right to Brown-Dukes. Rasco hits him in the gut, the jejunum, and BBD immediately kneels and puts the ball to the ground, giving up. Took him a couple minutes to shake off the hit.

12. Vaughan complete to Tucker, pivoting away and working towards the left sideline.

Sixth Session

1. Pass complete from Jones to Rogers over the middle, flung between Johnson and Garner.

2. Jones again complete to Coates.

3. Ray Vinopal and Doran Grant at safety. Steelers fake the draw and the end around to Coates and then fires a screen, Jones to Toussaint. Tyler Matakevich isn’t fooled by any of the window dressing and is right there. Nice play from the rook.

No tackling though so Toussaint scurries upfield, Mosley-Smith giving chase.

4. Richardson carry off the left side. Coates had a good crack/seal on Vinopal to allow the back to hit the perimeter.

5. Brown-Dukes carry off right guard. Rogers with high effort on his stalk block, working on Garner.

6. Jones complete to DHB on a drag, Feeney trailing.

7. Playaction and Vaughan floats this throw over the linebackers, Rogers making another fingertip grab.

8. Attempted throw from Vaughan to Tucker on a comeback but Al-Hajj Shabazz drives on the throw and breaks the ball up.

9. Short throw from #13 to Lang goes through his hands. Fort had the coverage.

10. Powell up the middle. Feeney first one there but again, no tackling. Powell keeps churning into the secondary as Garner grabs him around his helmet before finally relenting.

11. Lyons shoved up the arc. Vertical throw from Vaughan to no one in particular. Obvious miscommunication.

12. Matt Feiler pushes Feeney up the arc. Vaughan another throw and complete to Blakeney on a drag as Garner closes and finishes with a form thud tackle.

Seventh Session

1. Last session of camp. Go ball to Coates from Jones in the back left corner of the end zone but Garner blankets him and the pass is incomplete.

2. Powell with the carry off left guard. Fort beats Manhart and stuffs the run.

3. Quick throw from Jones to Blakeney before Washington can close and play the pocket.

4. Lang at fullback. Jones hits Coates on an out route in front of Kevin White.

5. Hansen now shifted over to left tackle. Offensive line false starts twice. Ball is finally snapped with Powell getting the carry off right tackle. Kevin White disengages from Lang’s block and seals the outside.

6. Touchdown, Jones hitting James in the back of the end zone before White shoves him out.

7. Fake end around to Tucker, TE screen left to Michael Cooper. Rasco chases him from behind while Dangerfield closes downhill, throwing a shoulder into his sternum.

8. Fun play. Zone read with Vaughan taking the ball out of Stingily’s belly and running the ten yards into the end zone, untouched and unnoticed.

9. Defensive line of Maxey/Hooks/Giorgio Newberry, though Maxey is kicked out for having too many men on the field. RPO with Vaughan looking to hit Hamilton on a flare route but the pass is low, away, and incomplete.

10. Short gain to Brown-Dukes up the right side. Lang ended up on the ground.

11. Fade to Grimble from Vaughan, batted away from someone. Whigham, I think. It was a nice contest and breakup.

12. Manhart pulls left to right and Powell follows behind before cutting off his inside hip. Looks like Matakevich made the tackle.

Final Thoughts

– Roethlisberger’s deep ball sure looked pretty today. No reason to doubt he’ll stop airing it out in 2016. Lots of splash plays coming.

– Like I wrote, Christian Powell had an active day carrying the football. It’s like Emmanuel McCray having a solid day on the last practice of camp two years ago. Too little, too late.

– Grimble finishes camp with a whimper, a couple of short catches aside. Cooper made arguably his best snag today.

– Hamilton continues to stack good days while Blakeney has very involved in the offense. Rogers continues to show sure hands. Maybe the second best set of hands of any receiver in Pittsburgh, obviously behind Antonio Brown.

– Another nice day for Travis Feeney. Healthy, active, lots of reps, lots of production. I dig it.

– Donald Washington with a splash play in camp, something he needed, though he’s still been running as a second-team RCB.

– Montell Garner also was all over the notebook today though it’s a bummer he couldn’t come down with that pick early in practice.

Twitter Question Of The Day

Yes, I think you can pretty much put his roster spot in pen. And I realize that’s high praise for a second year player who has never played on Sunday’s. But Rogers’ performance, and praise from coaches, merits it.

Coach McGuirk’s Best Quotes

“Act like you’re insane and people will leave you alone.”

2015 Steelers’ Highlight To Get You Amped For 2016

Gotta finish this one with one of the highlights of the year, Antonio Brown smoking Chris Harris for the go-ahead touchdown against Denver.

St. Vincent College Is Beautiful 

Until next year…


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