Training Camp

Steelers Training Camp Diary: Day 11

Despite the first preseason game being just 48 hours from now, the Pittsburgh Steelers offered up another physical practice today. Let’s dive into what happened.

Quick aside: want to thank our training camp sponsor, Touring Plans, who is supporting the meals throughout camp. Leftover chicken wrap – still pretty good. Thanks again to them, who you should check out if you’re ever planning a trip to Disney, the second most magical place on Earth (SVC being the first, of course). You can hit up their website here.

Injury report: still pretty lengthy even if most of them aren’t incredibly serious. Not practicing Wednesday: Landry Jones (abdominal strain), Mike Mitchell (ankle/foot), Cam Sutton (hamstring), Senquez Golson (Mummy’s Curse), Ryan Shazier (hamstring), Keion Adams (shoulder), Artie Burns (leg/groin), Anthony Chickillo (hip), Justin Hunter (unknown), Sean Davis (unknown), James Harrison (rest), Demarcus Ayers (unknown), Maurkice Pouncey (rest?).

James Conner was in pads and went through individual drills and one-on-ones but was not a participant in team session. Unlikely to play Friday against the New York Giants. Back in team session were OLB Farrington Huguenin and CB Greg Ducre. Good signs there.

Alejandro Villanueva, evaluated for a concussion Sunday, was in pads but was held out of one-on-ones and team sessions. Chris Hubbard earned the nod as first team left tackle.

Jerald Hawkins didn’t appear until about 3:30 PM. Excused absence yesterday and I presume late getting into town. He quickly stretched and then joined the team, participating in team drills.

For the injured guys, most of them took the next step. Some jogging for most of them and Sutton put on his jersey and helmet. Burns went through the ladders with the healthy bodies out of the stretch line, telling me the injury is minor. I would expect to get most of these guys back in about a week.

Sammie Coates was running and cutting full speed on the side and looks really close to a return. Perhaps the first practice after the Giants game. Martavis Bryant remains behind NFL bars and continues to work on the side.  Nevermind!

Terrell Watson first man out at 2:28 PM.

– Tomlin spoke with the linebackers during warmups for a minute. Something extra he wanted to bring to their attention.

– 2nd team OL: Brian Mihalik-Keavon Milton-Kyle Friend-Matt Feiler-Jerald Hawkins

B.J. Finney briefly spent time next to Colin Holba and Kameron Canaday long snapping. Stands to reason he would be the emergency guy in-game.

Brett Keisel made an appearance today, still sporting his awesome beard, and floated around practice. Latrobe is basically a Steelers’ family reunion.

– Linebackers were working on their pursuit angles, one-on-one with the running backs. Focus here is on playing inside/height, coming to balance, playing with technique. Couple of notes.

Tomlin getting after an eager Bud Dupree: “Hold up! Wait for the damn ball, Bud.”

Tomlin watching intently, calling out to UDFA Matt Galambos after he missed a wrap up. “Watch your weight, Matt!”

Trey Williams, though it was one-on-one, showed off his change of direction ability. Made Dupree look silly once, cutting back, and L.J. Fort once dove out and grabbed air, Williams scooting upfield.

T.J. Watt always shows good technique. Taking good angles, not overpursuing, and always looks to finish the rep, trying to knock the ball out.

– OL/DL charting.


1. Huguenin can’t rip under Chris Hubbard.

2. Two go at it again. Huguenin loses his balance and falls to Hubbard’s knees.

3. Ramon Foster bests Cam Heyward, who is unable to use his push/pull and shed.

4. Heyward falls to the ground against Foster.

5. Finney anchors versus Hargrave.

6. Hargrave’s push/pull also fails, Finney managing to hang on.

7. Stephon Tuitt swims over DeCastro.

8. This time, Tuitt’s spin move fails vs DD.

9. Best rep of the day. Arthur Moats really good at converting speed to power. Runs over Marcus Gilbert, knocking him down, and the two tumble into “QB” Lucas Crowley – the newly signed offensive linemen – who topples over too.

10. Gilbert saves face, anchoring versus Moats.

11. Mihalik seals Johnny Maxey upfield.

12. Tyson Alualu falls into Keavon Milton. Both end up on the ground, a real Rocky type moment.

13. Mihalik win vs Roy Philon.

14. Alualu dips under Ethan Cooper.

15. Strong, tight hands from Matt Feiler to win against Lavon Hooks.

16. Hawkins runs Moats up the arc.

17. Good punch by Feiler. Hooks rips under him late but I’d give the win to the OL.

18. Hawkins with a good base and gets square to Huguenin. Win for Hawk.

19. Francis Kallon rips through Mihalik late in the rep. Giving the win for Mihalik.

20. Little used nose tackle Christian Brown can’t shed Keavon Milton.

21. Hooks bull rushes Crowley back.

22. Good base and feet from Cooper, handling Daniel McCullers’ bull rush.

23. Jake Rodgers finishes things on a high note, anchoring versus Moats’ speed/bull.

First Session

1. Seven shots. Antonio Brown and Eli Rogers on the outside, JuJu Smith-Schuster working the slot. Fitzgerald Toussaint side car to Ben Roethlisberger. Ross Cockrell LCB, Coty Sensabaugh RCB. Roethlisberger wants to hit Jesse James on a slant but Jordan Dangerfield – first team next to Robert Golden with Sean Davis missing – drives on the ball and breaks it up.

2. Playaction with a false key pull. Roethlisberger with heat on the ball complete to AB, working on Sensabaugh, who shadowed Brown throughout the day to very limited success.

3. Short toss to Toussaint to the right who pitches it to JuJu Smith-Schuster running to his left. William Gay sniffs it out, flying in to tackle the rookie at about the one.

4. AB and DHB on the outside, JuJu in the slot. Another bullet from Ben to AB vs Sensabaugh. Touchdown. Good pocket by the OL.

5. Bart Houston getting a brief look with the second team to work on some situational football. One of his better throws of camp, showing touch to his Eli Rogers on a slot fade to the back right pylon. Rogers tracks it over his left shoulder and hauls it in while Mike Hilton can do nothing but trail the play.

6. Houston wants Rogers on a quick out cut to the right but Hilton undercuts the route and breaks it up on the goal line.

7. Good contain in the pocket by Tyson Alualu at his LDE spot. Houston climbs, keeps his eyes downfield, and desperately looks for something to open up but ultimately throws it away. Defense wins the day, 4-3.

Second Session

1. Toussaint on the carry, cutting to his right. Good hole opened up by Finney and David DeCastro. Vince Williams one of several in on the tackle.

2. Toussaint up the gut. Javon Hargrave holds the POA well and Bud Dupree gets in there for no gain.

3. It’s Knile Davis’ turn up the middle. Hargrave is there again, shedding Finney to clog things up while Vince Williams dives low to cut Davis down.

4. Terrell Watson up the middle. Ross Cockrell flies in and nips his ankles but doesn’t bring him down as Watson cuts upfield. Looked like Hargrave again made the tackle, a great couple of plays for him.

5. Watson carry off left side. Good block to keep Watt from sealing it and Watson gets the edge. Robert Golden goes low to wrap him up while Dangerfield crushes him high, folding Watson in half and bringing him down immediately. About a five yard gain.

6. Playaction from Roethlisberger. Wants to hit Smith-Schuster deep but decides against it. Tries to check it down for Watson but Dangerfield bats it away.

7. Brandon Brown-Dukes carry off to the left. Brian Allen forces it back inside while Johnny Maxey and Steven Johnson are in on the stop.

8. Huguenin in at LOLB. Trey Williams up the middle, Maxey again in on the tackle.

9. Brown-Dukes off left guard. Brandon Dixon goes low to take him down with L.J. Fort joining in to finish things up.

10. Third team DL. Lavon Hooks-Christian Brown-Roy Philon. Was really hoping for a run play to check out a guy like Brown. But Bart Houston kills the run call to playaction. Blanketed, no one to throw to, and Houston does nothing with it. Should’ve kept the run call.

11. Toussaint carry up the middle. Galambos comes in free up the A gap to drop him for a loss. Looked like Daniel McCullers was pushed back off the ball. Again.

12. Watson finishes things up off the right side. Hooks and Malik Golden – a name that doesn’t show up a lot – in on the tackle. Christian Brown eyes were down on his block, not helping him to make the play.

Third Session

1. Empty set, Roosevelt Nix slot left. Matakevich blitz. Roethlisberger hits Antonio Brown on a curl, complete versus Sensabaugh.

2. Marcus Gilbert steers Dupree upfield. Roethlisberger looks for Rogers on a 10 yard out to the right. Little behind but Rogers adjusts to it well, hauling the pass in.

3. Sluggo (slant and go) for AB. Ben airs it out deep as AB blows by Golden and Sensabaugh. Brown weaves to the inside of the numbers but the ball is outside and falls incomplete.

4. Roethlisberger looks for Jesse James on an over route but Tyler Matakevich is in his hip pocket, batting the ball away.

5. Playaction, Ramon Foster pulling and kicking out Dupree. Roethlisberger attempts to hit Xavier Grimble down the right seam. Good coverage by Williams, forcing Grimble to try to go up and get it. Bounces off his hands. Would classify it as a drop.

6. Ben hits AB on a post between Sensabaugh and Golden. Golden pulls up. Smart move.

7. Dobbs rolls to his left. Hits Phazahn Odom in the left flat. Greg Ducre in team drills at RCB. Good to see.

8. Quick throw from Dobbs complete to Jake McGee on an out route. Malik Golden with the coverage.

9. Dixon/Ducre the corners. Odom is able to anchor versus Huguenin’s rush. Complete again, Dobbs to McGee.

10. Jake Rodgers replaces Jerald Hawkins at RT. Keith Kelsey free on a blitz up the A gap. Houston with a rainbow down the left sideline to Canaan Severin. Severin gets a step on JaCorey Shepherd and makes a nice grab.

11. Houston again looks for Severin. But pass is a step in front of the receiver on his out cut to the right sideline.

12. Marcus Tucker and Severin on the outside, Eli Rogers in the slot. Houston getting on the same page with Severin, hitting him on a curl. Falls down but immediately gets up before getting tagged by a DB.

Fourth Session

1. Dobbs in with the first team offense. No Ben or AB. Dobbs looks to climb the pocket but there’s nothing there. Dupree grabs the back of his jersey.

2. It was either Vince Williams or Tyler Matakevich who dipped on Foster’s trap block to get into the backfield. Knile Davis coughed the ball up for the first time all camp, recovered by the defense.

3. Watt and Moats at OLB. Dupree was held out of the final two team sessions. Maybe precautionary. Hopefully. Dobbs to Toussaint on an angle screen to the left. Toussaint cuts to his right where Moats is waiting for him.

4. Bubble screen Dobbs to Rogers. Williams tags him up. DeCastro got out into space in a hurry.

5. Dobbs looks for DHB on a curl. Sensabaugh with the breakup, a relief from not having to face AB. Brian Mihalik shoves Moats upfield.

6. Cobi and DHB on the outside, JuJu in the slot. Slow developing draw to Davis. Vince Williams comes flying in and dives into Davis in the backfield, dropping him like a brick.

7. Tuitt the looper on a stunt, coming up free up the middle. Gets pressure. Dobbs climbs the pocket and hits Watson on a drag route left to right.

8. Bubble to Tucker for a short gain.

9. Draw to Davis off the left side for a healthy gain. Alualu ended on the ground away from the play.

10. T.J. Watt dips under Jake Rodgers on the edge. Houston flushed right and hits Smith-Schuster, who keeps his feet inbounds along the right sideline.

11. Fort lining up at ROLB. Good pickup by Watson. Hilton coming in free off the edge. Houston complete on a dig to Severin.

12. Hawkins ended up on the ground. Houston climbs but the ball gets knocked out as he releases. Don’t know by who.

Fifth Session

1. Hargrave wraps up, no tackling here, Toussaint at the LOS.

2. Playaction. Dobbs boots to the right, hits David Johnson in the right flat.

3. Dobbs looks for DHB on the left side but it clips off his hands incomplete. Was a tough catch to haul in, to be fair to the WR.

4. Playaction. Dobbs fires complete to Hamilton on a skinny post between Cockrell and Dangerfield. Dangerfield with a pop to spin Cobi down.

5. Toussaint over left guard. Good lane opened up by Finney and Foster. Hargrave can’t shed his block.

6. Dobbs again looks for DHB along the left corner. Pass hits off his hands. Definitely a drop. Sensabaugh in coverage, gets bailed out.

7. Quick throw from Houston to Tucker. Tucker spins upfield to scoot away from Brian Allen. Tomlin calls out to the receiver, “Thatta boy, Tuck!”

8. Tucker and JuJu the 2 WRs. Houston showing better command of the offense, geting JuJu lined up in the right spot. Was on the wrong side. Watson carry right side. Watt knifed in there.

9. Draw to Brown-Dukes. Kyle Friend good block at the second level. Dixon tags BBD up.

10. Houston looks for Severin on a slant. Hilton steps in front of it. Should’ve been a pick but he drops it. Immediately goes to the ground, does five pushups, and then points to the crowd as he heads to the huddle.

Severin come out of the huddle and talked to Richard Mann. Guessing Severin’s depth was wrong, needing to work under Hilton, not over the top.

11. Houston takes a shot deep down the left sideline for Tucker. Brian Allen is out of phase but doesn’t get his head around, trying to track the ball the whole way. To his credit, able to keep his speed while finding the football and actually works back in phase. Doesn’t get a piece of the ball but contests it enough and creates the incompletion. Athleticism winning over some technique problems.

12. Keavon Milton and Jake McGee pull to the right. Milton good block at the first level, McGee at the second. BBD following behind before cutting upfield.

Final Thoughts

– Like I alluded to, Bart Houston showing more composure out there. Looks more comfortable, better understanding of the playbook, and his play has improved by a couple of ticks. Still not making the team of course but maybe his offense won’t be totally bogged down in the preseason.

– Trey Williams just not getting a lot of touches in team session anymore. Little disappointing because there’s definitely talent there. Going to be buried on the depth chart when Conner returns, which will be soon.

– Canaan Severin has come on strong the last two or three practices. Definitely a build-up speed guy but great size who can win downfield. Don’t forget about him when putting together your practice squad. Not a lock, obviously, but in the running.

– Matt Feiler continues to impress. Strong, tight hands and a decent athlete. Would be surprised to see him not make the practice squad.

– Javon Hargrave and Johnny Maxey had their best days today. Hargrave has been solid all camp but today, he was dominant.

– Matt Galambos was pretty good too, especially playing the run.

– Arthur Moats stringing together two really good practices, even for a vet’s standards. If Keion Adams keeps missing time, Moats may eek out that 5th OLB spot.

– All Mike Hilton does is make plays on the ball. Rinse, repeat.

– And all Jordan Dangerfield does is hit. Rinse, repeat.

Next practice is Sunday. Talk to you all then.

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