Training camp dust-ups are nothing new and certainly nothing to overreact about. As long as no one is trying to punch a guy in the helmet, they’re actually good to see out of players. The battles are competitive, guys are tired, and there’s plenty of trash talking. It sounds like rookie Dan Moore Jr. got the training camp skirmish party started twice during Saturday’s practice. Reportedly, he mixed things up with Isaiah Buggs and Cam Heyward.
That’s what ESPN beat reporter Brooke Pryor tweeted out after today’s session.
Had our first training camp scuffle today. Rookie tackle Dan Moore Jr. got into it with Isaiah Buggs and Cam Heyward on consecutive plays.
— Brooke Pryor (@bepryor) July 24, 2021
The context around the mix-up isn’t clear. But it’s good to see out of the rookie and an offensive line that needs to be tough, more physical, and just more nasty this season. They failed in all three of those areas in 2020. New offensive line coach Adrian Klemm has harped on the need for a tougher group this season so seeing these moments out of Moore is actually a good thing.
Moore has reportedly worked as the first-team left tackle with Chukwuma Okorafor held out of team sessions.
Mike Tomlin was asked about the encounters during his Q&A session with the media. Here’s what he said via 93.7 The Fan.
Tomlin on rookie T Moore in pair of skirmishes, 1 w Heyward-“We work our tails off to compete but keep it professional. We acknowledge sometimes tempers are going to flare & those things are going to happen. We are putting together a rough-&-tumble football group, not a MMA squad
— 93.7 The Fan (@937theFan) July 24, 2021
It goes back to Tomlin’s mantra of “rather say ‘woah’ than ‘sic ’em.'” I can remember how great it was to see Daniel McCullers get into some fights a couple camps ago, the first sign he was shedding his “teddy bear” label. Though McCullers never became a starter, he did have his best season once he started playing with more physicality and anger.
The Steelers front five needs some fire in its belly this year. And though Moore is unlikely to start Week 1, he could be just a snap or two away from seeing serious playing time. That’s something Okorafor quickly found out last season. He went from being the backup swing tackle to starting 15 games at right tackle last season.
Ideally, 2021 is something closer to a redshirt season for a guy like Moore but the NFL doesn’t always offer such luxuries. So monitoring how those guys perform know could matter come later in the season.