Training Camp

Steelers’ Training Camp Diary: Day 12

The Pittsburgh Steelers were back at it today at Chuck Noll Field for Day 12 of training camp. Weather couldn’t have been any more perfect, planes zoomed in and out of Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, and there was even a fighter jet that buzzed overhead. I like to think he was trying to fly faster than Martavis Bryant can run. To your notes.

Quick aside: want to thank our training camp sponsor, Touring Plans, who is supporting the meals throughout camp. Tried to go to my local Subway for dinner…and they’re closed permanently. Dinner still TBA. 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 roundup. Team in better shape after their first game their before it. Usually not how it works. In pads today were: Alejandro Villanueva, James Conner, Cameron Sutton, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Bud Dupree, Sean Davis, Artie Burns, and Justin Hunter.

Conner, Sutton, and JuJu did not participate in team sessions. Burns saw action in about half as the team eased him back in. Conner saw work in 7 on 7. I would call them all close to returning in full.

Still fully out today were: Landry Jones (abdominal strain), Mike Mitchell (foot/ankle), Senquez Golson (clearance aisle 6 million dollar man), Anthony Chickillo (hip), Keion Adams (left shoulder), Maurkice Pouncey (cut on leg? didn’t see him out there today), Ryan Shazier (hamstring), and Demarcus Ayers (unknown). Didn’t even come to mind during practice but I don’t recall seeing Keith Kelsey (shoulder) out there today. Maybe I’m wrong though.

Ayers did go through the stretch line with the rest of the team and didn’t appear to have any limitations. So while he didn’t practice at all, I have to think he is nearing a return.

During practice, Farrington Huguenin suffered a left shoulder injury, I believe during team drills. Johnny Maxey hurt his right knee in OL/DL run blocking work. Had a wrap on it for a while, sat on the cooler, than had the wrap taken off and tried to flex his right knee. Not sure of his status going forward but his day was done. Marcus Gilbert also dipped out part way through, though he didn’t visibly look in any sort of distress. Chris Hubbard replaced him as the first team right tackle. B.J. Finney replaced Pouncey at center.

Terrell Watson, like clockwork, first man out at 2:27 PM.

– Sutton hadn’t been in a team practice yet. Had trouble getting his pads on and adjusted right. Fellow rookie Brian Allen had to lend a helping home.

– Second team OL: Hubbard-Feiler-Friend-Milton-Hawkins

– 3rd team OL: Mihalik-Cooper-Friend-Milton-Rodgers

– Initial punt return line in warmups: Marcus Tucker, Trey Williams, Cameron Sutton, and Martavis Bryant. When they broke into a special teams session during practice, it was Tucker, Williams, Sutton, and Eli Rogers fielding punts.

Mike Tomlin to Martavis Bryant as practice got underway. “Let’s go, 10!” as he gave him a fist bump.

– Tomlin trying to pump up the tight ends as they came off the blocking sleds. “We got some tight ends on outside linebackers today!”

– On air, Canaan Severin ran an out route to the left sideline, got both feet in, but crashed into the camera man. Camera guy stayed on his feet, equipment was ok. One of the bigger collisions of the day.

– On air, Tucker looked back for the ball too early running a nine route. Caused him to slow up and missed the ball by a step when he tried to grab it.

– Didn’t chart it but two quick observations in the TE/OLB drill. T.J. Watt and Huguenin had breakups in coverage.

– Back-to-back throws from Ben. Martavis Bryant reached out behind him to snag one and Justin Hunter reeled in the next over his head. Both made it look effortless. Bet Roethilsberger is a happy man.

– Charting WR/DB one-on-ones.


1. Antonio Brown creates space at the top of his comeback, beating Artie Burns pretty easily.

2. Eli Rogers hauls in the pass on a curl versus Mike Hilton. Nice job by Rogers to get on Hilton’s toes to give the illusion he was going deep.

3. Martavis Bryant’s first rep. Beats Ross Cockrell on a post, getting inside leverage.

4. Back shoulder throw for Darrius Heyward-Bey but Coty Sensabaugh pins him along the sideline, getting his head around and plucking the ball out of the air.

5. Brian Allen good coverage on Cobi Hamilton. Miscommunication as Hamilton runs deep, the QB wanting him to break off to the sideline.

6. Justin Hunter schools Brandon Dixon, turning him all around. Outside stem, inside counter, outside stem again. Makes the catch as Dixon can’t finish the play.

7. Canaan Severin runs a curl. Good coverage by Greg Ducre but the pass from Josh Dobbs is way off target.

8. Double-move from Marcus Tucker. JaCorey Shepherd not fooled. Pass behind and overhead, incomplete.

9. Good punch by Allen. Hamilton able to shake free past the five yard chuck zone and makes the catch.

10. Burns totally blanketing Brown on a post-corner. On his inside hip as Brown breaks away and doesn’t allow AB to work back to the ball. Falls in front of them, incomplete.

11. Rogers beats Hilton off the line pretty easily. Rogers settles on his curl but Roethlisberger hesitates. Two still having some issues getting on the same page. Pass was complete.

12. Pass for Bryant vs Cockrell incomplete.

13. Dixon pulls Hamilton’s jersey on his out cut. Incomplete. Hamilton throws his towel as the flag. Definitely PI, win goes to Cobi.

14. Hunter stacks Shepherd downfield but the pass tips off Hunter’s left hand.

15. Tucker has inside leverage versus Allen. Makes the catch on a post route.

16. DHB nod to create space and stack Dixon. Pass is underthrown and to his inside shoulder. Can’t find it, incomplete.

17. Severin shoves Burns away and crosses his face on a slant. Complete.

18. Ducre good coverage on Hamilton’s curl route. Pass skipped two yards in front of them.

19. Rogers’ breakdown versus Hilton so smooth. Stops as Hilton drifts upfield. Easy pitch and catch.

20. Burns pins AB along the sideline. Think Brown was trying to subtly grab Burns’ arm as they ran downfield. Burns gets his head around and high points the pass, picking it off. Good rep from #25.

21. Bryant runs through Cockrell’s weak press attempt. Pass a little out in front and Bryant dives for it, unable to haul it in as he goes to the ground.

22. Hamilton catch on a slant. Versus Dixon, I believe.

23. Some apparent miscommunication between Hunter and Ben. Roethlisberger tries to pull the ball back but he can’t, fluttering out of his hand two yards in front of him. He and Hunter chat for a minute or two after. Not sure who had the coverage, not that it really mattered.

24. Burns with a HARD two-handed punch on AB, knocking him back off the line of scrimmage. But Brown recovers, beats Brown off the line, and makes the catch on a dig.

25. Dixon does well to stay in-phase vs Tucker. Tucker tracks it but it’s off his hands, incomplete.

– Just a couple OL/DL notes.


1. Villanueva wins vs Tyson Alualu.

2. Ramon Foster shoots his hands to fake an early punch on Cam Heyward, getting him to commit to his bull rush, which Foster is able to anchor.

3. Javon Hargrave walks Finney back.

4. Good battle between David DeCastro and Stephon Tuitt. Late swim by #91 though he never really beats DD completely clean.

5. L.T. Walton gets under Hubbard’s pads and walk him back.

6. Roy Philon uses his lack of height to dip under the 6’9 Brian Mihalik.

7. Matt Feiler good anchor and then the lateral movement to push Francis Kallon upfield.

8. Nose tackle Christian Brown shows arm extension to walk new guy Lucas Crowley back. He’s able to but loses his balance, not bringing his lower half, and falls to the ground. Call it a tie.

9. In seemingly all one movement, Daniel McCullers clubs (engulfs) and rips under Keavon Milton. Good second move for him I hope to see more often. It isn’t a fast move but he has the power to make it somewhat effective.

10. Lavon Hooks works under Jerald Hawkins.

11. Not a one-on-one but watched McCullers and Brown try to stunt. Like they had never seen one before. What a mess.

12. Nice move by Kallon. Fake rip and then spins away from Ethan Cooper, who totally bit on the rip. TKO for Kallon.

13. Two go at it again and Cooper is much better, anchoring Kallon.

14. Crowley stops Brown’s rip attempt.

15. Poor punch by Hooks on Kyle Friend. Friend shoves him upfield.

16. Walton’s initial punch on Jake Rodgers fails. Converts to power and Rodgers loses his footing, doing a split as he goes to the ground.

First Session

1. Seven shots. Sean Davis and Robert Golden at safety. Dupree/Watt at OLB, Burns/Cockrell at corner (Burns didn’t shadow AB today). Martavis Bryant in the slot with Eli Rogers and AB on the outside. Roethlisberger looks for Jesse James in the back right corner of the end zone.

Sean Davis faceguards him and bats the ball away and up into the air. James does well to track it and catch it on its way down, getting the tiptoes of both of his feet in as he falls down. Touchdown.

2. Four wide receivers in the game: Bryant, Brown, Rogers, Hunter. Roethilsberger complete to Brown on a speed out to the left.

3. Back to 12 personnel. Ben looks for James on his third read underneath the goal posts. Tyler Matakevich face guards him and has more success, knocking the pass away.

4. Ben looks for Brown on a slant versus Cockrell. Brown throws out a hand for it but can’t haul it in. Incomplete.

5. Jake McGee and Phazahn Odom on a slant/flat. McGee gets bumped off so Josh Dobbs hits Odom, who boxes out Jordan Dangerfield for the score.

6. Empty set. Low snap. Dobbs’ pass incomplete on the left slide between Terrell Watson and DHB.

7. Draw to Knile Davis. Matt Feiler pulling left to right. Davis scores and the offense wins 4-3.

Second Session

1. Run session. Still full tackling. Crazy. Toss right to Fitzgerald Toussaint. Cuts it back, someone grabbed his facemask, and Watt chases it from the backside to make the tackle near the LOS.

2. Moats/Watt at OLB. Knile Davis finds a hole off the right side. Robert Golden is the low man in the alley to finish the play.

3. Cockrell/Sensabaugh first team corners. Bryant and Brown at WR. Watt sheds David Johnson’s block, Davis on the carry. Watt first man there and then Sean Davis flies in to spin Davis down to the ground. Ramon Foster had a good seal on Cam Heyward.

4. Dupree at LOLB. Javon Hargrave continues his domination of B.J. Finney, crossing his face on this zone run. Hargrave finishes the play, tackling Watson in the backfield for a loss of five.

5. Looked like Huguenin beat Villanueva off the edge. Ben complete to Watson on a drag route. Tyler Matakevich bumps his shoulder and sends Watson flying into the ground. “Dirty!” someone called out, praising Dirty Red.

6. Davis up the middle. Heyward first man there and grabs his jersey. But Davis able to spin out of it, cutting to his right, with a coach screaming out “Get him down!” Several Steelers do, including Sean Davis.

7. Roy Philon sheds his block. Watson up the middle. Steven Johnson comes firing in and with one of the most vicious hits of camp, folds Watson down with a helmet-to-helmet hit.

8. Draw to Watson. Walton runs back Friend into Watson, tripping the back up on the line of scrimmage. Watson laying on his back, looking up at the sky, clapping his hands at the missed opportunity.

9. Hawkins false starts. Really nice run by Davis. Jukes either Jacob Hagen or Brian Allen and nearly steps out of Dangerfield’s tackle but Dangerfield stretches out to grab his ankle and trip him down.

10. Matt Galambos fills his gap to take Brandon Brown-Dukes down. Daniel McCullers also falls on him. Tomlin called out to praise Galambos.

11. More pressure from Huguenin. Bart Houston checks in and looks for Jake McGee on the right sideline. Pass high, away, incomplete.

12. Watson up the gut. Galambos, Allen, McCullers in there after a short gain.

Third Session

1. Burns back in opposite Cockrell. Fire X blitz. Roethlisberger hits James on a slant. Burns read it well but couldn’t close in time.

2. Davis good blitz pickup. Heyward gets pressure. Roethlisberger throw in a tight window to Johnson but the pass is off his hands. Vince Williams had pretty good coverage. Made the throw a tough one.

3. William Gay rotating to be a deep half safety. Roethlisberger drag to Eli Rogers right to left. Rogers tips it up but makes the catch the second try, Vince Williams in tow.

4. Roethlisberger complete on a slant to AB versus Cockrell.

5. Dupree and Watt the OLBs. Roethlisberger heave down the right sideline. Burns trailing under. Pass thrown out of bounds, incomplete.

6. Hubbard in at right tackle. Ben’s pass to DHB is incomplete. Cockrell with the coverage. Knile Davis initially stoned Matakevich up the A gap but Matakevich was quick to swim over him.

7. Tyson Alualu left unblocked and pressures Josh Dobbs. Dobbs looks for DHB underneath but Coty Sensabaugh plays the pocket and breaks it up.

8. Martavis Bryant’s first reception. Dobbs hits him on the left sideline. Brian Allen tried to dive out to swat it away but couldn’t.

9. Bad snap. Dobbs stuck in the pocket. Finally dumps it off to Xavier Grimble.

10. Houston looks for Hamilton on the right side. Dixon gets his head around, tips it up once or twice and then brings it in before falling out of bounds. INT.

11. At this point, with the team back down to three OLBs, the Steelers turn to running a 4-2-5 (unless this was planned, which would be quite the story). Kallon-Walton-Hooks-Philon. Hooks tries to get his hand up in Houston’s throwing lane but the pass is complete to Hamilton running a dig.

12. Mike Hilton in the slot. Houston quickly hits Johnson on the right side. Hilton pops him at the end.

Fourth Session

1. Dobbs first team. Screen left to Davis. Finney sticks to VW in space. Two minute drill/hurry up.

2. Dobbs checkdown to Davis out of the backfield.

3. Cover 2. Dobbs complete to Rogers along the right side.

4. Bryant/DHB on the outside, Rogers in the slot. Matakevich has pressure up the middle. Dobbs for DHB down the right sideline. Throw off target, hits DHB’s hand, but wouldn’t count it as a drop. More on the QB.

5. Vince Williams ducks under Chris Hubbard, flushing Dobbs to his left and running out of bounds for a first down.

6. Deep throw down the middle for Xavier Grimble. Williams had coverage and the pass was over his head, splitting the two closing safeties.

7. Good stunt recognition by Foster and Villanueva but Watt was able to dip under Foster. Pass for Dobbs incomplete. High but William Gay made sure to close on the ball.

8. Wasn’t 4th down but Mike Tomlin calls for the third team to come in and reset things. DL of: Walton-McCullers-Hargrave-Alualu. Steven Johnson/LJ Fort at ILB. Housto has Hamilton open along the right side but the pass sails, incomplete.

9. Good pocket by the OL. Houston with an accurate throw, rare for today, downfield for Tucker, Allen in coverage. Tucker may have felt the safety coming over the top and dropped the pass. Right next to Mike Tomlin, too. Oof.

10. Houston complete to Canaan Severin on a curl. Johnson can’t close in time but tosses Severin to the ground.

11. 4th down. Houston wants Hamilton on a comeback to the left but Allen reads it, undercuts the route, and picks it off. Good rep.

Fifth Session

1. More no huddle. Walton-Hargrave-Hooks-Alualu. Golden/Dangerfield at S, Davis held out. Roethlisberger swing pass to Davis to the left.

2. Timing a bit off on Ben’s curl pass to Bryant. Bryant tries to work back for it but it bounces off his left hand, incomplete. Sensabaugh had the coverage.

3. Ben gets Matakevich to tip his blitz on a hard count. Bullet to Bryant on a dig between Sensabaugh and Golden.

4. Roethlisberger complete to Rogers on an out route, Matakevich charging hard behind.

5. DL. Still a four man front. Kallon-McCullers-Brown-Philon. Drag from Ben to Brown but AB actually drops this one. Bobbled it, popped into the air, couldn’t come down with it.

6. Roethlisberger another missile over the middle. Justin Hunter makes the catch, working over Sensabaugh.

7. Dobbs throw to Severn on a short curl over center is off target. Williams comes in for a diving interception. Gets his hands under the ball and looks like a pick, but the ball grazes the ground as VW tries to get up. If the Troy Polamalu/2005 Divisional Game rules apply, not an interception.

8. Philon whoops Mihalik. Dobbs hits Johnson on a curl.

9. Dobbs heaves up a 50/50 ball for Cobi. He high points it over Dixon but loses the ball as he goes to the ground, falling flat on his back, the ball bouncing to the sidelines.

10. Short throw Houston to Severin. Another pop from Hilton, a loud bump, that sent Severin into the ground. Galambos pats him on the head as they walk back to the defensive huddle.

11. Houston finds Jake McGee in the left flat. L.J. Fort in coverage.

12. Allen LCB, Dixon RCB, Hilton in the slot. Houston finishes on a decent note, hitting Hamilton on a dig over the middle. Threw it over Fort’s head.

Final Thoughts

-Sloppy day for QBs across the board. Dobbs wasn’t great and Houston was pretty bad. Haven’t done the numbers but sure the completion percentage was pretty low.

– Just one carry today for Brandon Brown-Dukes. None for Trey Williams, who may still be working his way back from some sort of hamstring injury. Just more reps for Watson.

– Knile Davis continues to impress. Out of the backfield, in pass pro, and his toughness and ability to create as a runner. I kinda like him more, even as just a runner, than Toussaint (who has had a good camp).

– A relatively quiet day back for Bryant. But he looks in tremendous shape, was fluid, and he’ll get some of the timing down shortly.

– Justin Hunter and Eli Rogers…two guys with physical gifts (Hunter height/weight/speed, Rogers’ burst and stop/start ability) who are still having problems with the details of route running. Getting on the same page with Ben Roethlisberger.

– Brian Mihalik didn’t have a great day today. Finney continues to get toasted by Hargrave.

– Roy Philon showed up today in one-on-ones and team drills. Injury to Maxey, who knows what happens.

– Up and down day for Brandon Dixon. Has ball skills, plays physical an aggressive, but it gets him into trouble. Too grabby. Pair of penalties vs the Giants.

– Brian Allen keeps improving in coverage. Looked better in off coverage too. Slowing down for him.

– Greg Ducre healthy, out there, but still haven’t seen him in team drills. Looks like odd man out. Could be cut soon. Maybe tomorrow if they bring in an OLB.

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History Through A Lens

Terry Bradshaw and Terry Hanratty. One had the better career. The other, the better mustache.

St. Vincent Snapshot

Bryant hauling in this pass in warmups.

Ron Swanson Quote Of The Day

“Please, talk more about how you hate Europe and bicycles.” 


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